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Amazing citizen scientists for shorebirds

The Global Shorebird Counting Program started in 2014 as one of main programs of World Shorebirds Day aiming to highlight the importance of bird monitoring. Since the launch, a great number of people have been engaged with this program and by now organisations offer various events around or on World Shorebirds Day. While still there is a misunderstanding about the mission of World Shorebirds Day and Global Shorebird Counting, it is still considered as an awareness program and not only for the insider birdwatchers.

Red Knots & Curlew Sandpipers

Red Knots and Curlew Sandpipers at Thompson Beach, South Australia © Chris Steeles (Photo was legally embedded from Chris Steeles’s Flickr stream with direct link to his portfolio. Check out his work.

Dedication is clearly detectable when we look at the map of Global Shorebird Counting locations. Shorebird counts on an amazing 1,259 unique locations have been carried out between 2014 and 2016 probably involving a few thousands enthusiast birdwatchers and others.

It’s hard to believe but there are 1,259 unique counting locations on this map.

Distribution of Global Shorebird Counting locations in the Americas between 2014-16.

Global Shorebird Counting have always been very popular in North America possibly Due to the high popularity of eBird. The number of locations in the European countriesare are slowly rising thanks to increased activites in Italy and the Checz Republic. There is still lack of interests from highly potential countries like the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain and the Scandinavian countries. Based on numberous feedback and personal comments, language and the use of natinal bird monitoring schemes keep birders being involved ” yet another” ‘monitoring’ program, although Global Shorebird Counting is restricted to a few days only each year. Probably, communication on native languages, more publicity about this special day in the related national media and an own website might change the rate of participation.

All time European participation in Global Shorebird Counting is restricted to some highly active groups.

World Shorebirds Day and Global Shorebird Counting is either barely known in the Asian countries or the switch of interest from birdwatching into bird photography is a limiting factor.

Taiwan takes the lead in the counting but there is great potential in other Asian countries too.

Although the 6th of September is a bit early for the mass wintering flocks in Australia and New Zealand there is still a lot of potential in these countries. Counting resident birds is equally as important as monitoring mass flocks of wintering shorebirds. With the launch of a special project the interest of Australian and New Zealander birdwatchers might increase in the future.

Global Shorebird Counting locations from Australia and New Zealand in the first 3 years of the program.

Stay tuned for more details about the first years of Global Shorebird Counting. Any constructive feedback or idea to increase the involvement of birders worldwide is highly appreciated.

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