Census of coastal shorebirds in Peru

By Will Morris February 8, 2010
Woman looking through a spotting scope
Shorebird Census

Shorebird census at Lagunas Mejia, Arequipa, Peru.

What do we know about migratory shorebirds in Peru? The answer, at least for that past 20 years, is “not that much.” Twenty years ago, Peruvian ornithologist and conservationist Gonzalo Castro, along with his colleagues in the U.S. and Chile, finished up the last of their work on Sanderlings, Calidris alba, wintering in South America. Since that time, a number of Peruvians have taken up surveys of local sites—such as Paracas, Paraiso, and Pantanos de Villa—but there has been little work beyond these sites and no work that takes a comprehensive look at shorebirds populations across the country.

During the first two weeks of February, that all will begin to change. A coalition of groups, headed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife Peru, Calidris, Corbidi, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be holding a series of workshops and censuses at sites up and down the Peruvian coast. Each of three coastal regions—south, central, and north—will host a daylong workshop to cover the basics of shorebird identification and survey methodology lead by shorebird experts from around the Western Hemisphere. Then, the following day, numerous sites within each region will be censused by teams of volunteers. Afterwards, all of the data will be input into the brand new eBird Peru portal.

So if you are perusing the eBird Peru portal and come across the “Coastal Shorebird Survey” option in the submit observations window, that is what is going on. Soon, all of the data from this project will be available to the public through eBird Peru and the Avian Knowledge Network. And, within the next, year the sponsors will have printed a full-length atlas detailing all of the survey’s results. So stay tuned and be sure to enter any additional shorebirds if there are any shorebirds that we have missed!


How to use eBird for shorebird censuses