Cedar Keys Audubon is pleased to announce a presentation by Janell Brush, FWC research scientist, titled “Between Paradise and Peril: A Story of American Oystercatcher Persistence in the Cedar Keys” to be held Monday, January 23, 2023, 5pm at the Cedar Key Community Center.
The Cedar Keys are home to a small resident breeding population of American Oystercatchers. This population increases to over a thousand birds during the fall and winter with the arrival of winter migrants. The matrix of oyster reefs and small sand/shell islands provide ideal habitats for breeding and nonbreeding oystercatchers.
Food is plentiful in the Cedar Keys, but nesting habitats are limited to a few small offshore islands, making every nesting area critical for conservation and population gains. The winter population depends on optimal high-tide roosts that are offshore, higher in elevation, and free of woody vegetation that can harbor predators. A single high tide roost can provide essential habitat for over 5% of the entire population of American Oystercatchers. These critical high-tide roosts are few and are declining and degrading.
Janell will present over a decade of research into the importance and function of foraging, roosting, and breeding habitats for the American Oystercatcher and recent results that are an early conservation warning for the species.
Janell is originally from Nebraska. She received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska (1998) and an M.S. from the University of Florida (2006). She is an associate research scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where she has managed avian research projects and grants for over 15 years. Janell leads the FWC research and monitoring efforts for shorebirds, seabirds, and eagles.