Spoon-billed Sandpiper wintering site becomes Bangladesh’s 20th IBA

Written by Martin Fowlie/BirdLife Community
Bangladesh is a crucial wintering are for Spoon-billed Sandpipers (Chaiwat Chinuparawat; www.theworldsrarest.com)
Bangladesh is a crucial wintering area for Spoon-billed Sandpipers (Chaiwat Chinuparawat; http://www.theworldsrarest.com)
Sonadia Island in Bangladesh, where 10% of the known population of the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus spends the winter, has been recognised as Bangladesh’s 20th Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.
A series of recent surveys confirms that Bangladesh is still an extremely important wintering ground for Spoon-billed Sandpiper, and we identified Sonadia Island as the main wintering site in Bangladesh”, said Sayam U. Chowdhury, Principal Investigator of the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project, a group of young conservationists who monitor the wader population, and work with local communities to raise awareness and reduce threats.
Sonadia Island also supports the globally Endangered Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer, and other threatened and Near Threatened birds such as Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris, Asian Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus, Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa.
BirdLife Partners and others, involved in the “Saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper” project, have been working at Sonadia since 2009, when hunting of waders on the mudflats was identified as a major threat to the fast-diminishing Spoon-billed Sandpiper population. Local hunters have now been trained and equipped for alternative, more secure and sustainable livelihoods. A very successful campaign has led to a better understanding of the importance of shorebird conservation in general, and a sense of pride and custodianship towards the Spoon-billed Sandpiper in particular.
The work has gone extremely well, and we are trying to really deliver conservation through the local communities,” said Sayam Chowdhury.  “Through the provision of alternative livelihoods we have seen hunting reduced to almost zero.  Hunters are now working as fisherman, tailors and watermelon producers.  An awareness-raising event we held in December 2012 involved close to a thousand people, local government and non-governmental organisation representatives.
Inamul Haque is Assistant Conservator of Forest (coastal) for Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar region, and has been involved in the restoration of mangrove cover on Sonadia. “We have been supporting the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project by avoiding mangrove planting in areas that are important for shorebirds”, he explained. “We have also been protecting the key sites from illegal hunting. I am delighted that Sonadia is receiving the international recognition it deserves by being declared an Important Bird Area.”
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Godwit Days 2013

GODWIT DAYS SPRING MIGRATION BIRD FESTIVAL APRIL 18 – 24, 2013
Come celebrate the Marbled Godwit and explore the lush Redwood Coast. Observe many bird species and wildlife through our selection of field trips, lectures, workshops, and boat excursions led by experienced local guides. Tour the expansive mudflats, the wild river valleys and the rocky ocean coast of this sector of the Klamath bioregion in northwest California.
Learn more about the festival

Audubon Priority Bird: American Oystercatcher

Audubon Louisiana helped create the state’s master plan for coastal restoration, which will build habitat vital to nesting oystercatchers. Moving forward, Audubon will manage some habitat specifically for oystercatchers at Rainey Sanctuary; push for the restoration of marshes and islands at Biloxi Marsh, Chandeleur Islands, and other global IBAs; and expand conservation programs, such as beach-nesting-bird stewardship, that will protect this charismatic species throughout the Gulf.
Read more…

A new breeding season: Time to map shorebirds

Nesting Piping Plover. Image courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Nesting Snowy Plover in Florida. Image courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
In some regions of the Northern Hemisphere breeding season is well under way. Shorebirds started to build nests and incubating eggs while further south chicks have already hatched. The WorldWaders Breeding Shorebird Mapping Project aims to map every shorebird species of the world by adding historical as well as actual data. This citizen science project is supported by hundreds of volunteers which has to grow for a better coverage on species as well as on geographic level.
No complicated information requested. After an easy registration data submission could be started straight away by finding the location on the map and filling out some data fields in the online form including the number of pairs. The result is immediately visible on the map!
In the next couple of months the website will be refreshed by new features. Users will be able to see the records for any species on the map and statistics will be available for each species even on location level.
Submitted breeding sites of Piping Plovers in North America. © WorldWaders.org
Submitted breeding sites of Piping Plover in North America. © WorldWaders.org
Distribution of one of the most abundant breeder, the Northern Lapwing in Europe based on the submitted records to the WorldWaders Breeding Shorebird Mapping Project. © WorldWaders.org
Distribution of one of the most abundant breeder, the Northern Lapwing in Europe based on the submitted records to the WorldWaders Breeding Shorebird Mapping Project. © WorldWaders.org
All time data submissions of breeding shorebirds on a global level. © WorldWaders.org
All time data submissions of breeding shorebirds on a global level. © WorldWaders.org
By looking at the maps you can see what the coverage is around your hometown or in your region. You probably know about shorebird breeding sites which you cannot see on the map. Think about login now and submit those records to get a better coverage.
Small Pied Avocet breeding colony in northwest Hungary. Breeding numbers have been submitted to WorldWaders Breeding Shorebird Mapping Project. © Gyorgy Szimuly
Small Pied Avocet breeding colony in northwest Hungary. Breeding numbers have been submitted to WorldWaders Breeding Shorebird Mapping Project. © Gyorgy Szimuly

Stone curlews died underweight because of ‘cold spring’

Written by BBC News England

Four of the birds were found in Norfolk, three in Wiltshire and one in Suffolk. Image courtesy of RSPB
Four of the birds were found in Norfolk, three in Wiltshire and one in Suffolk. Image courtesy of RSPB
One of the UK’s rarest birds is being put at further risk by the cold spring, the RSPB has said.
The bodies of eight underweight stone curlews have been discovered in fields in Norfolk, Suffolk and Wiltshire over the past few days…
Continue reading

Meet Postel, The Tagged Whimbrel

Written by Haley Jordan/Manomet Center for for Conservation Sciences
Satellite tagged Whimbrel named Postel. © Tim Keyes
Satellite tagged Whimbrel named Postel. © Tim Keyes
This Whimbrel was caught last spring in Georgia by Shorebird Recovery Project Conservation Specialist Brad Winn and partners and fitted with a solar-powered satellite transmitter, which shows us where he goes and what resources he depends on throughout the year.
As of last week, Postel was still in his winter territory on Caranguejos Island, Brazil.
Whimbrels are able to fly one of the longest non-stop flights of any bird in the world. Some have traveled 4,500 miles non-stop from eastern Canada to South America. Most of these flights include extensive time over open-ocean, and some involve as many as seven days and nights of flying.
Brad will spend the coming week in Georgia catching Whimbrels and fitting a few of them with transmitters with Tim Keyes of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Fletcher Smith of the William & Mary Center for Conservation Biology.
Perhaps they will see Postel, who is expected to arrive at the very same marsh where he was fitted with his transmitter last year. There, he will feast on fiddler crabs to refuel his journey to breeding grounds at the western edge of Hudson Bay in Canada.
To follow Postel’s journey, visit http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?tag_id=105874&dyn=1365430497.
Follow Brad on Twitter @BradfordWinn for updates from the field!

The business of shorebirds

Written by Bryan Watts/Center for Conservation Biology
In early March, more than 50 international shorebird scientists from government agencies, NGOs, and academic institutions lead by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed and released Phase 1 of the Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Business Strategy. Other phases are to follow that will be more focused on critical areas of the flyway including the Caribbean, Central and South America. Designed to halt and reverse population declines for species using the Atlantic Coast, the strategy is intended to be a blueprint for funding and implementation. The completion of this 2-year effort is a true milestone in shorebird conservation. It represents a call to action for both the conservation community and funders both of which are needed to achieve success.
Shorebirds flying into a high tide roost. Photo by Bart Paxton
Shorebirds flying into a high tide roost. Photo by Bart Paxton
Download the full strategy
The Western Atlantic Flyway supports one of the largest near-shore movement corridors of birds in the world. The flyway hosts hundreds of millions of birds annually, many of which are of conservation concern. The assemblage of birds that utilize the flyway is diverse and their relationships to the Atlantic Coast are varied. The greatest volume of birds uses the flyway as a movement corridor between breeding and wintering grounds. Birds funnel through the flyway from a broad geographic area ranging from the high latitudes of northern Europe to Siberia. All individuals from entire populations or species may move through the flyway making the area particularly significant for their survival. In addition to using the coastline as a movement corridor, many species use portions of the Atlantic Coast as migratory staging areas, breeding grounds or wintering grounds.
Bryan Watts measures a dunlin during spring migration along the Virginia coast. Photo by Fletcher Smith
Bryan Watts measures a dunlin during spring migration along the Virginia coast. Photo by Fletcher Smith
Shorebirds are among the most migratory groups of animals known to science. Of the 35 species of shorebirds that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway the majority are believed to be declining and several are in desperate need of conservation action. The business strategy attempts to identify critical factors contributing to declines, actions and associated funding needed to curb declines, and metrics of success.
The Center for Conservation Biology is a leader in shorebird research particularly in the mid-Atlantic region and has conducted survey work or focused projects on most species that utilize the flyway. Bryan Watts and Fletcher Smith contributed to this ground-breaking effort.