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.

Thursday 12 December 2019

Critically Endangered Shorebird Travels Thousands of Miles to New Protected Area

December 3, 2019/in Blog /by Ethan Freedman

This year, Rainforest Trust and the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST) purchased almost 20 acres of shoreline along Thailand’s Inner Gulf. This property, Pak Thale, is an important habitat for many migratory shorebird species, including the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is an incredible — and incredibly threatened — bird. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimates that only 240-456 mature sandpipers are still alive, anywhere in the world. Yes, you read that right. The entire species population is no more than 500 individual birds. For reference, that’s fewer than the number of Mountain Gorillas, one of the world’s most iconic threatened species, left in the wild.

But the species, like many other shorebirds, is also a prolific migrator. They breed up in the high Arctic, from the Russian Far East down through the Kamchatka Peninsula. From there, each fall, they migrate to their wintering grounds in southeast Asia. Along the way, they stop at shoreline habitat to rest and feed before continuing on their thousands-of-miles-long journey. Each of the sandpipers are essentially on their own for the whole journey. These little birds, just about six inches long, fly out over the ocean, migrating in an all-or-nothing battle for life against the elements.

And in the spring, they do it all in reverse.

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