It’s time to brush off those water boots! And get out your binoculars, of course.
The Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC) kicks off on Friday, January 14 and the last day is Thursday, February 3, 2022. This period includes World Wetlands Day (February 2), which this year has the theme: Wetlands Action for People and Nature. During that time, you are encouraged to venture out to seashores, beaches, and wetlands to count as many waterbirds as possible. Count all the birds you see!
Why is the CWC important? The Caribbean is home to 185 species of waterbirds (which include seabirds, wading birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl) – many of which are migratory. This varied and critical group of birds also includes many endemic species and a number that are endangered globally. The CWC is a valuable tool, helping us to assess how these remarkable birds are doing. They breed, rest, and feed in habitats that are themselves facing a range of threats, including development, pollution, human activities, and climate change impacts. Learn more about the CWC and access more resources here.
Note: Our CWC promotional graphics are available for free download in English, Spanish and French, and also as a template in Canva so that you can add your logo and modify for your events – see links below.
Those confusing waterbirds!
Now, which sandpiper is that? Is that a Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs? How can I identify a mixed group of birds? Sometimes it’s a learning curve!
If you are not feeling too confident with waterbirds, BirdsCaribbean is here to help! We have free online resources that will help you identify those tricky little sandpipers and plovers in their winter plumage, as they patrol our shorelines or fly in groups over the water. Before you start, why not download our ID Guide to Common Caribbean Shorebirds, which you may like to print and take with you? Also, take a look at the accompanying shorebird poster and other resources on this page.
It might also be worth your while to take in our two webinars on waterbird ID, which you can find on our YouTube pages (please subscribe, like and share!). Part I covers herons, egrets, ducks, marsh birds, and seabirds. Part II covers those fun and challenging shorebirds! You will also find a “how to participate” video guide there and detailed instructions here. For some more background information, you might enjoy our overview of the past ten years of the CWC, presented at last year’s Symposium at the North American Ornithological Congress (NAOC) online meeting.
Getting it all down on eBird
An important aspect of the CWC is that it is all captured and stored on eBird Caribbean. As you enter your sightings, you must be sure to use the CWC protocol on Step 2, under “Observation Type.” eBird is playing an increasingly crucial role in the CWC process. If you’re new to eBird, check out our helpful video here on how to use eBird and Merlin. If you need help with eBird submissions (it’s really not complicated!) or with setting up an eBird account, do contact Alex Sansom: email@example.com
All that remains to say is: have fun! Count responsibly and enjoy your day (or days) of counting during this three-week period.
Footnote: We recognize that some territories are still under restrictions of various kinds due to the ongoing pandemic. We urge everyone to stick to your local COVID-19 protocols, while enjoying your Caribbean Waterbird Count! Stay safe and well!
Promotional Graphics for CWC 2022 are available in English, Spanish and French. This year we also have ‘CWC Survey Tips’ graphics (in English) formatted for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Click on each image in the gallery below to enlarge. You can add your own logos or event information: right click on an enlarged image and ‘save image as’ to download. You can also download our graphics from Dropbox here (including high-res version for printing) or use these links to Canva to use our promotional graphics as a template (each link contains graphics in all three languages):