As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Report finds $50M in post-Sandy bird habitat projects needed

The human devastation from Hurricane Sandy was so severe that not much attention was paid to other things -- such as the destruction of habitats that are important to birds.

But earlier today, the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation released a report detailing nearly $50 million in restoration projects that are needed to help birds and bird habitats that were affected by Sandy.

"Hurricane Sandy moved massive amounts of coastal sediments with the extreme power of storm-driven water, changing barrier landscapes, eroding important bird nesting islands and blowing out dikes of impoundments managed specifically for breeding, migrating and wintering shorebirds, seabirds, wading birds and waterfowl," the report noted.

Among the protects is $10 million needed to repair the Delaware Bay beaches in New Jersey, from Reeds Beach to Pierce's Point. This is prime spawning habitat for horseshoe crabs. Every spring -- notably on the highest tides in May -- the crabs swarm ashore to lay their eggs. That just happens to be when red knots and other shorebirds are arriving partway through their migrations from wintering grounds in South America to breeding grounds in the Arctic. They depend on the crab eggs to refuel and regain much-needed weight so they can continue their journey.

But the report said that "the cascading impact of storm surge and sand displacement" decreased the horseshoe crab spawning habitat "significantly." 

"With almost no sand for horseshoe crabs to spawn, the 'lifeblood' of many migrating shorebirds in the the Atlantic, horseshoe crab eggs will be virtually nonexistent," the report said.

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