Rebecca Holberton and UMaine graduate student Sean Rune Featured in UMaine Today
Researchers at the University of Maine, including one of Maine’s leading bird biologists Rebecca Holberton, are interested in a feathered friend that pays a short two week visit to Maine in July, August or September. Semipalmated sandpipers do not pass through Maine for vacation, but use their short stay as a “rest stop” for their long migration to South America. Holberton is a professor of biology for the School of Biology and Ecology at UMaine.
Holberton, with the help of SBE graduate student Sean Rune, are investigating the effects of changing habitat on sandpipers during their visit to the state of Maine. In order to study these effects, Holberton and Rune conducted health assessments using Nano tags- tiny radio transmitters- to determine if the Maine coast is a hospitable pit stop for the birds.
Because these sandpipers are intolerant to cold, which makes the ocean an unwelcoming resting point, their stop in Maine to refuel and rest is critical before they depart on the rest of their journey. The voyage takes between two to four days for the birds to fly 2,400 to the coast of South America.
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