Short-billed Dowitchers in decline

August 07, 2023

This is a species that doesn’t get much attention from conservationists and are usually just checked off by birders who keep lists. They are not listed as threatened or endangered, and IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) lists the species as “least concern.”  Maybe it’s time to take a closer look.

A recent study analyzed data from the International Shorebird Survey, Atlantic Canada Shorebird Survey, and the Ontario Shorebird Survey, all of which have been going on since the 1970s. The study found that Short-billed Dowitchers have declined by as much as 80% within the mid-north Atlantic coast area (NC to eastern Canada) over the past 40 years.  The decline found in the study exceeded the threshold for the species to be considered endangered by IUCN.

They’re not big and showy, and some might not consider them charismatic, but I think they deserve attention from the conservation community.    They are telling us something about the Atlantic coast.  

 


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