Happy World Shorebirds Day!
In collaboration with Global Shorebird Counts, Gyorgy Szimuly, a Hungarian conservationist and birder created World Shorebirds Day. World Shorebirds Day is held every year in September and aims to raise awareness surrounding the threats facing shorebirds throughout their life cycles, as well as advocating for more shorebird research, conservation action and monitoring.
World Shorebirds Day is also a great opportunity to mobilize communities to visit and get to know the possible shorebird populations in their neighbourhoods, whether that is through guided beach and wetland visits or participating in the Global Shorebird Count and e-bird checklist.
Shorebirds include species such as sandpipers, yellowlegs, plovers, avocets, snipes, turnstones and oystercatchers. Shorebirds can be identified by their long slim beaks which are used to pluck and feed within marshland and beaches, as well as their long thin legs.
Shorebirds such as Piping plover (Charadrius melodus), Semipalmated sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), and Red knots (Calidris canutus), tend to be observed in Canada in their spring egg-laying season or during the summer months (Morrison, et al., 2001). There are over 75 shorebird species in Canada, 47 of which exclusively breed within Canada (Donaldson et al., 2011).
According to the 2011 Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan, around 67% of Canada’s shorebird populations are in decline. The main driver of their decline is habitat loss, wetland drainage, pollution, nesting disturbance, and human land use which threatens them along their migration routes and breeding habitats (Donaldson et al., 2011; Morrison et al., 2001).
Conservation action is urgently needed to protect shorebirds in Canada and internationally. Participating in World Shorebirds Day and getting involved with your community to count shorebirds is just one small action you can take to help protect these astonishing species.
Donaldson, G., Hyslop, C., Morrison, G., Dickson, L., & Davison, I. (2011). Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan, Canadian Wildlife Service, BirdLife International. Published by Authority of the Minister of Environment, Canadian Wildlife Service © Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2000 Catalogue No. CW69-15/5-2000E ISBN 0-662-29112-3 Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data Main entry under title: Canadian shorebird conservation plan (Special publication)
Morrison, R., Nettleship, D. N., I., Gill, R. E., Harrington, B. A., Skagen, S., Page, G. W., Gratto-Trevir, L., & Haig, S. M. (2001). Estimates of Shorebird Populations in North America. Waterbirds: The International Journal of Waterbird Biology, 24(1), 144. doi:10.2307/1522258