The DWR contracts with the Virginia Tech Shorebird Program (VT Team) to conduct seabird research on South Island during the final two breeding seasons before the start of the HRBT expansion project. The purpose of this work was to help assess the future effects of displacement from South Island on breeding seabird populations in Virginia and entailed marking as many tern and skimmer adults and chicks as possible with uniquely-coded field readable bands to:
- Allow for the subsequent tracking of individuals once they become permanently displaced from South Island;
- Establish survival rates and movement patterns through active re-sighting efforts throughout each species’ range;
- Quantify recruitment of marked birds to a newly constructed site or to other colonies within Virginia and beyond.
The VT Team also applied GPS transmitters on incubating Common Terns to gather information on within-breeding-season movements and to identify local foraging locations.