Citizen Science
Shorebird Surveys
This project is a collaborative effort of New Jersey Audubon (NJA), New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife/Endangered and Nongame Species Program, and Manomet Center for Conservation Science, aimed at assessing status and changes in populations of shorebirds to better manage and conserve stopover areas. The data collected by volunteers will be incorporated into the national database of the Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM), whose overall goal is to monitor trends in shorebird populations. In addition, the information will help identify areas important to southbound shorebirds, and define shorebird management goals for New Jersey.

We have a dedicated group of volunteers who have been counting shorebirds and recording information of their behavior for several years.  With generous funding from NFWF we are continuing these surveys through the Fall of 2013!

          Photo by:  Art Morris


Shorebird Survey Spring and Fall 2015 

We continue to recruit people for other sites that need additional coverage.

We are looking for competent volunteers to survey beaches from Cape May to Sandy Hook and along the Delaware Bay, and collect data on shorebird abundance. Participants must be able to identify shorebirds and be willing to visit sites approximately once a week from May 1st until June 7th, 2015, as well as from July 15th to October 30th, 2015. 

Contact: Nellie Tsipoura for more information.

For Shorebird Citizen Scientists


Sandy Hook Shorebird surveys 2004-2008

Follow link for a Power Point presentation of an analysis of a subset of citizen science data.


Photos from field trips


Contaminants in shorebirds migrating through Delaware Bay (click to download paper).

Burger J, Tsipoura N, Niles LJ, Gochfeld M, Dey A, Mizrahi D. Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic, Chromium and Selenium in Feathers of Shorebirds during Migrating through Delaware Bay, New Jersey: Comparing the 1990s and 2011/2012. Toxics. 2015; 3(1):63-74. 

To evaluate effects of contaminants as cause for shorebird declines, we examined levels of mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium and selenium in feathers of Red Knot, Semipalmated Sandpiper and Sanderling migrating through Delaware Bay, New Jersey, from 1991 to 1992 and 2011–2012 to determine if levels have changed. 

We found: (1) arsenic, chromium, and lead increased in red knot and decreased in Semipalmated Sandpiper; (2) cadmium decreased in Semipalmated Sandpipers; (3) mercury decreased in Red knot and Sanderlings; (4) selenium decreased in Red Knot and increased in Semipalmated Sandpipers.

The levels of all elements were well below those reported for other marine species, except for selenium, which was near levels suggesting possible toxic effects.

For more information contact: Nellie Tsipoura