Snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus) populations have declined throughout their range, in part because of habitat degradation and poor nest success, making information regarding regionally specific nest site selection and spatial patterns important when considering habitat conservation and management guidelines. We determined nest site selection characteristics (n=80) and examined spatial patterns (n=215) of snowy plover nests in saline lakes in the Southern High Plains (SHP) of Texas. At 104 nests, we examined the influence of substrate type on nest temperatures and heat mitigation. Snowy plover nests were more likely to be found near an object, on pebble substrate, and with fewer plants than random sites. High use areas were generally located in areas with pebble substrate and on human-made or natural islands, berms, and peninsulas. Overall, nests placed on pebble substrate had lower temperatures during the day than nests placed on sand substrates. Nest placement on pebble substratemay be valuable to nesting snowy plovers, providing thermal advantages to incubating adults and depressing potentially high nest predation rates. Management guidelines for this region should emphasize the importance of addressing key elements of snowy plover nesting habitat including the presence of pebble substrate and reducing vegetation encroachment.
Saalfeld, David; Conway, Warren C.; Johnson, William P.; and Haukos, David A., "Snowy Plover Nest Site Selection, Spatial Patterning, and Temperatures in the Southern High Plains of Texas" (2012). Faculty Publications. 275.