New online resource aims to help at-risk shorebirds

A Red Knot walks on the shore near Nome, Alaska. Photo by Joshua Galicki
A Red Knot walks on the shore near Nome, Alaska. Photo by Joshua Galicki

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), an intergovernmental organization between Canada, Mexico, and the United States, has launched an online resource to support the conservation of migratory shorebirds at key North American stopover sites. By providing detailed data, maps, and outreach tools, the new website facilitates information-sharing between communities that steward important sites along the migratory routes of Arctic shorebirds.

The site focuses on Semipalmated Sandpiper and Red Knot, two migratory bird species that breed in the Arctic and stop to rest at a select number of sites in Canada, Mexico, and the United States during their migration. The sites are important indicators of overall biodiversity health.

Red Knots (Calidris canutus) fly from the Arctic all the way to the southern tip of South America during their yearly migration. The rufa subspecies is listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the United States; rufa and roselaari subspecies are listed as Endangered and Threatened, respectively, under the Canadian Species at Risk Act; and the roselaari subspecies is listed as Threatened in Mexico.

Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) can fly up to 4,000 km (2,500 miles) non-stop over the ocean between stopover sites. They are identified in the three nations as a species of high conservation concern due to rapid population decline.

Here’s how you can use this new online resource:

  • Search through the database to find detailed information about 88 North American stopover sites, including bird counts, migration seasons, known threats, and more.
  • Explore the interactive map to search for stopover sites by region, country, and subspecies.
  • Discover interesting facts and figures about the knot and sandpiper, including habitat, feeding, and migration information.
  • Get inspired by the shorebird conservation and outreach actions at eight CEC-supported project sites featured on the website.
  • Download free materials and access additional information on the resources page.

The website was created through the Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative’s Americas Flyway Action Plan. The goal of the project was to improve conservation outcomes for at-risk shorebirds that breed in the Arctic. By partnering with the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, a recognized, community-based conservation effort, this project informed, engaged, and connected communities in the three countries that share responsibility for the well-being of the shorebirds.

Building on the results of the action plan, the three countries recently approved a new project, Conserving Shorebirds through Community Engagement, as part of the CEC’s 2017-2018 cooperative work program. Find out more at

Read more articles about shorebirds


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