For more than 25 years, NJ Audubon has been at the forefront in protecting and restoring the Delaware Bay as an important shorebird migration stopover. Involvement began in 1982, with the first aerial surveys of the Delaware Bayshore (both NJ and Delaware) to document the numbers and species utilizing the area for rest, as well as taking advantage of the rich refueling food source provided by the breeding horseshoe crab eggs. Data throughout the 1980s and 1990s began to document an obvious and significant decline in shorebird numbers. This dramatic trend led to expanded research projects by NJ Audubon and partner organizations. These projects sought to establish a positive correlation between shorebird population declines and the coinciding over-harvesting of horseshoe crabs for use as bait in the rapidly expanding conch industry.
Current research at NJ Audubon focuses on the migration ecology of the Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla). Our work also includes research on the Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla), Dunlin (Calidris alpina) and Short-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus). However, to adequately address the conservation needs of these shorebirds, the project has expanded internationally to include not only the Delaware Bay, but also wintering and migration staging areas along the northeast coast of South America, specifically French Guiana, Suriname and northeastern Brazil. We are also working with Manomet Center for Conservation Science and the Arctic Shorebird Demographic Network (ASDN) to better understand links between breeding populations in the Arctic and Subarctic and migration and wintering populationsl.
This program has 4 major projects:
1. Delaware Bay Shorebird Conservation Project
2. Monitoring Semipalmated Sandpiper populations on wintering grounds in Suriname and French Guiana
3. International Conservation Plan for Semipalmated Sandpiper
4. Training South America Scientists for long-term Monitoring
JOIN US: To make a tax-deductible contribution earmarked specifically to help NJ Audubon’s Research Department continue its Shorebird Research and Monitoring Program, contact Brian O'Leary, Vice President for Development, at 908-204-8998 extension 16. Or, you can click here to donate online.