Taking the pulse of the shorebird migration
The core of this project is the dedicated citizen-scientists
These volunteers will be conducting simultaneous surveys at sites of potential usage by Western Sandpipers
The abundance of Western Sandpipers is recorded at sites that could be used by Western Sandpipers on southward migration
Some behavioural observations are also made during the survey period
Sites were chosen based on habitat characteristics and with advice from local naturalists including our very skilled and knowledgeable volunteers.
Sites were within the Salish Sea region, which hosts sites of hemispheric importance to migratory shorebirds.
Sites ranged from small ponds to tidal lagoons to extensive estuarine mudflats.
Sites were within two national parks, multiple provincially protected areas and various areas of local importance.
At each site volunteers spent 2-3 hours observing the site and counting the number of Western Sandpipers using the site for feeding
Observations of peregrine falcons and merlin, which hunt the migrating sandpipers were also recorded.
Volunteers returned to the site for 1-3 days for both the adult and juvenile migrations in July and August respectively.
The next steps
Data from the censuses will be used to test the predictions from the hypotheses outlined above.
Additional information about each survey site will help with this.
The final goal is to generate and test a process that will quickly allow for the assessment of population trends in migratory shorebird species and provide an empirical estimation of support for the causes of this trend.