Geographically isolated breeding populations of migratory shorebirds may be demographically connected through shared nonbreeding habitats. We used long-term (1998–2008) mark–recapture data on piping plovers (Charadrius melodus) collected from 7 separate studies located throughout North America to conduct a range-wide analysis of after hatch year apparent survival (ΦAHY). Our objectives were to compare concurrent survival estimates from disparate breeding sites and determine whether estimates followed similar trends or were correlated among breeding populations with shared wintering grounds. Average survival estimates were higher for Great Plains populations (range = 0.69–0.81) than for Great Lakes and Atlantic Coast populations (range = 0.56–0.71). Linear trend models indicated that apparent survival declined in 4 out of 7 populations, was unchanged in 3, and was generally highest among Great Plains populations. Based on a post hoc analysis, we found evidence of correlated year-to-year fluctuations in annual survival among populations wintering primarily along the southeastern United States Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast. Our results indicate shared overwintering or stopover sites may influence annual variation in survival among geographically disparate breeding populations. Declines in piping plover survival are a cause for concern, and our results highlight the need for conservation efforts to include habitat used during the migratory and wintering periods.
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Vol. 74 • No. 8