Harlequin ducks sunbathe on exposed ocean rocks.

Celebrate the treasure of shorebirds

ISLAND WILD: Their numbers are declining, largely due to habitat loss and human disturbance

Untold numbers of shorebirds migrate to Pacific Northwest coastlines for all or part of the year.

Great navigators, they are astonishing creatures, capable of superb feats of endurance. However, their numbers are declining, largely due to habitat loss and human disturbance.

We marvel at the black oystercatcher’s comical long red bill, the towering limbs of the yellowlegs, the beauty of the dowitchers and dunlins, scores of plovers and sandpipers, and the rarity of red knots. Now, a new worldwide event aims to increase awareness and help conserve these precious species.

The first annual World Shorebirds’ Day takes place on Saturday. The event invites people around the world to celebrate and count shorebirds.

Counting and monitoring bird populations helps scientists to establish baselines and plan action for long-term recovery.

On Vancouver Island, it’s very easy to find a shore and sit a while, binoculars in hand, noting the different species that make our shores their home. Counting takes place from Saturday at noon until midnight Sunday. As well, all across the globe, wildlife artists will set up at their favourite shore to sketch these beautiful shorebirds.

Individuals, families and groups may take part in this no-cost event, and may register online to win prizes. Visit the official World Shorebirds’ Day website for more information: https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com

Shorebird migration knits the world together, bringing realization of how interdependent we all are.

Take time this weekend to appreciate these wonderful bird migrators.


Email Christine at: wildernesswest@shaw.ca.