MSc Candidate, Trent University
Amie MacDonald is an MSc student at Trent University studying Red Knots during migratory stopover in James Bay, Ontario under the supervision of Dr. Erica Nol and Dr. Paul Smith. In partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Moose Cree First Nation, Bird Studies Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, she is investigating Red Knot population ecology and determining how many rely on James Bay during their annual southbound migration that spans the Western hemisphere. She hopes that this research will inform conservation efforts and aid population recovery for this endangered shorebird. Amie has travelled to James Bay to study shorebirds every summer since 2014.
Red knot passage population size and timing of migration through james bay
Many Red Knots that stop in James Bay have been marked with uniquely coded leg flags through banding efforts across the Western hemisphere. Amie is using resightings of these flagged Red Knots to model how many Red Knots stop in James Bay during southbound migration each year, how long they stay, the ratio of adults to juveniles, and the timing of arrivals and departures. An integrative modelling approach with a strong field component will allow us to better understand ecological and demographic processes affecting Red Knots and inform conservation efforts. This will also hopefully provide a metric for assessing population health and conservation outcomes.
Annual survival of red knots staging in james Bay
Amie is also using resightings of flagged Red Knots to determine the rates of annual survival for adult Red Knots that stop in James Bay. She is exploring possible links between survival and conditions that Red Knots experience throughout the year to investigate where Red Knot populations may be most vulnerable. This may provide information that will aid population recovery for this endangered shorebird.