Habitat use of indicator species is used to prioritize management activities, but habitat use can vary temporally in response to changes in predation risk and foraging rewards. I examined black oystercatcher habitat preferences at four sites in BC, Canada, during the breeding and non-breeding season, and across diel and tidal cycles. Oystercatchers generally preferred islets and shoreline with limited tree cover that provide a refuge from predators and shoreline associated with freshwater outflows and larger intertidal areas that provide greater foraging rewards. However, preferences varied temporally in response to differences in predation risk and foraging rewards. Across the year, Individuals made greater use of larger islets with few surrounding trees and freshwater outflows with gravel substrates. My study highlights the importance of examining habitat use throughout the annual cycle and suggests that managers should protect a mosaic of marine shoreline providing both refuge from predators and productive foraging opportunities.
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Thesis advisor: Green, David
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