Waders need love too

Waders need love too ~ 30th April 2016 ~ 

Waders, or shorebirds as they are also known, are found all around the world and come in all different shapes and sizes. Many of the species that breed in Arctic and temperate regions are highly migratory, while those found in tropical areas are usually resident, or only move in response to rainfall.
Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
The smallest species of wader is found in the Americas and is the Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla). It measures just over 13cm and can weigh as little as 15.5g. The largest species of wader is thought to be the Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), an East Asian-Australasian species, which measures about 63cm and weighs about 860g.
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Both species are migratory: Least Sandpipers breed in the Arctic tundra and migrate approximately 2,000 miles to their wintering ground in South America. Far Eastern Curlews spend the breeding season in eastern Russia, including Siberia and Kamchatka and most migrate down to Australia, but some go as far as New Zealand, stopping off at mudflats in the Yellow Sea on the way.

Waders are very charismatic birds, from the Sanderlings running along the shoreline like crazy wind-up toys, to the Phalaropes spinning in circles whilst feeding...they're just so entertaining you could spend hours watching them!
Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius)
Unfortunately, however, many wader species are in trouble. Due to the great migrations that many species undertake, they face numerous threats along the way, in their breeding and wintering grounds as well as at their staging locations en route. Human activities such as urban expansion, land reclamation and hunting as well as global climate change pose serious threats to waders.
Red-capped Plover (Calidris ruficollis)
Climate change is affecting the seasonal timings of things like ice melt, plant growth and therefore prey availability and consequently this affects all aspects of the birds' lives, including breeding success, ability to get into condition for migration & breeding as well as survival rates. In places like the China Yellow Sea, where the human population has seen a massive increase over the last few decades, land reclamation for agriculture and other activities are having a detrimental effect on migratory waders. This is because they use the mudflats there as stopover points at which to feed up before carrying on up to northeastern Russia from Australia or vice versa. (If you want to find out a bit more about the Yellow Sea stopover sites and the waders that use them, then this is a good place to start).
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
But there is hope. There are fantastic organisations across the flyways doing their utmost to identify the key threats to wader species and working out how to help them. One such organisation that does super work all around the world is Wader Quest.

Wader Quest is a bird conservation charity based in the UK. They organise events around the UK (such as the Wirral Wader Festival) as well as promoting events overseas all in an effort to raise awareness of the threats facing waders across the flyways as well as to raise as much money as possible to support wader conservation projects.
Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
Today's Norfolk Bird Race is an annual event that raises money for a particular bird conservation charity and this year's chosen charity is Wader Quest. If you would like to support Wader Quest via the Norfolk Bird Race then you can find the information here. Alternatively, if you'd like to support Wader Quest directly you can find the details on their website here. For just £5.00 a year you can become a friend of Wader Quest, support their hard work and also receive their brilliant newsletter!
Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)
Here are a few other organisations you might consider supporting, all of whom are doing brilliant things for waders across the flyways:

Wader flock, 80 Mile Beach, Australia

1 comment:

  1. This is a fantastic summary of the situation waders find themselves in across the planet, thank you Josie for highlighting it and also for kindly mentioning our work.