Right now, volunteer observers are counting shorebirds on the move. Sandpipers, dowitchers, plovers, Dunlin, and others that raised their young in the Arctic are now making southbound migrations. They're looking for places to feed and rest along the way. On Crockett Lake in Washington State, Sarah Schmidt identifies and counts the travelers three times a month in spring and fall, as part of the International Shorebird Survey. It's not easy to count shorebirds, like these Black-bellied Plovers. BirdNote celebrates all volunteers who are helping to put together the overall picture. They're supporting the conservation of critical lands.
Monitoring Migrating Shorebirds with Sarah Schmidt
Written by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote!
[Sarah Schmidt: “OK, one, two, three…10…11…12…13…”]
At this time of year, volunteer observers are counting shorebirds on the move. Sandpipers, dowitchers, plovers, Dunlin, and others that raised their young in the Arctic are now making long, southbound migrations. [Flock of Dunlin] They’re looking for places to feed and rest along the way.
[Calls of individual Dunlin]
One such place is Crockett Lake, on Whidbey Island, Washington. Here, Sarah Schmidt identifies and counts the travelers three times a month in spring and fall. She sends her results to the International Shorebird Survey.
“When it began in 1974, part of it was to identify the key stopover sites on these thousands-of-miles migrations that the shorebirds do and also try and see whether the loss of some of these key sites might have a significant impact on shorebird populations. [Call of a Least Sandpiper] Crockett Lake is not huge… but obviously for birds that come here it’s important and also you can look at trends at any one place… and it adds to the overall picture.”
It’s not easy to count shorebirds on a distant mudflat.
“There’s pebbles all over the mud that are about the same… blotchy brown and white. They’re kind of the size of a little peep. [Call of Least Sandpiper] [It’s really critical to have a scope.] I go slowly and I really am looking for movement.”
To learn about the survey site nearest you, begin at our website birdnote.org.
Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of a Least Sandpiper 134100 recorded by M. Fischer; flock of Dunlin 59435 recorded by W.W.H. Gunn; single Dunlin 128217 G. Vyn.
BirdNote's theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to Nature.org October 2018 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# internationalshorebirdsurvey-01-2012-10-07 internationalshorebirdsurvey-01b