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The Impact of Hurricane Hugo on the Breeding Ecology of Wading Birds at Pumpkinseed Island, Hobcaw Barony, South Carolina

Philippa Shepherd, Tanja Crockett, Toni L. De Santo and Keith L. Bildstein
Colonial Waterbirds
Vol. 14, No. 2 (1991), pp. 150-157
Published by: Waterbird Society
DOI: 10.2307/1521504
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1521504
Page Count: 8
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The Impact of Hurricane Hugo on the Breeding Ecology of Wading Birds at Pumpkinseed Island, Hobcaw Barony, South Carolina
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Abstract

Hurricane Hugo was a category 4 storm when it struck the South Carolina coast early on the morning of 22 September 1989. The eye of the storm passed about 80 km south of Pumpkinseed Island, the largest active wading-bird colony site in the state. Compared with coastal destruction elsewhere, especially in nearby maritime forests and coastal impoundments, damage to vegetation on the island was slight. Even so, shrubs used by nesting Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets were damaged more heavily than was grassy vegetation used by nesting Tricolored Herons, Glossy Ibises, and White Ibises. Numbers of nesting Great Egrets and, to a lesser extent, Tricolored Herons, but not Snowy Egrets and Glossy Ibises, declined substantially in 1990, following the storm. The greatest decline in nesting, however, occurred among White Ibises, whose numbers plummeted from > 10,000 pairs in 1989 to 0 in 1990. We speculate on why species "responded" differently to the storm.

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