Great Basin Naturalist


American Falls Reservoir in southeastern Idaho is an irrigation reservoir used as an inland feeding stopover by many shorebird species. Six exclosure experiments were conducted during the 1990 drawdown period to investigate shorebird predation impact on benthic macroinvertebrate populations. The study sites differed in sediment composition, sediment slope, invertebrate densities, and shorebird abundance. Shorebird predation significantly affected invertebrate densities in only 1 of 6 experiments (Aberdeen Mouth). This site had higher sediment slope and a lower water recedence than other study sites, resulting in concentration of shorebird predation on a small area of newly exposed sediment. Shorebird predation had the greatest impact on medium size class chironomid larvae at Aberdeen Mouth. Our results suggest that inland sites such as American Falls Reservoir represent viable shorebird habitat and may be managed to insure consistent prey availability. Drawdown rate, sediment slope, invertebrate densities, and shorebird abundance are all important factors influencing shorebird predation. Monitoring shorebird abundance and predation impact on invertebrate densities may help in manipulating drawdown rate to provide adequate shorebird prey. Management of inland sites for shorebird use may become more important in the future as human encroachment in coastal areas continues.