Protecting Shorebirds in Coastal Communities

Shorebirds are facing unprecedented threats across landscapes during their annual migration cycles. Species like plovers, oystercatchers, sandpipers, curlews can be found along the entire Pacific coast of the Western Hemisphere during some time of the year. Whether migrants or residents, shorebirds and the habitats they depend upon are exposed to increasing human threats. To tackle their declining populations, shorebird scientists, conservationists, organizations and managers have come together to identify and help solve these conservation issues. Knowing that successful conservation action depends upon and must be initiated locally, Urban Bird Foundation is working in communities to promote and develop solutions that will have the best chance for positively affecting populations – and create a ripple flyway scale effect.

Shorebirds are especially vulnerable to environmental and other human impacts and as a group are not faring well. Our on-the-ground action to safeguard habitat helps slow conversion and degradation that continues to stress coastal ecosystems and impact shorebird populations.

Major Threats to Shorebird Populations

Shorebirds are increasingly competing with people for critical coastal habitats

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, “Many coastal habitats have already been altered by coastal settlements, jetties, beach armoring and beach raking, essentially eliminating some areas as suitable habitat. At interior sites, 90% of the wetlands of the Central Valley of California, USA, have been transformed into agriculture, housing developments and industrial areas. Saline lakes across the Intermountain West, USA, are increasingly threatened by water withdrawals for urban areas and agriculture.

Although individual development projects may only have limited local impacts on shorebird habitats, the cumulative effect across the Pacific Americas Flyway could be catastrophic, as shorebirds travel thousands of miles and rely on a number of sites during their annual cycles.”

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