Delta Wind Birds Co-Hosts Regional Shorebird Conservation Workshop for Wildlife Biologists and Landowners
Managers of public and private lands from six southeastern states gathered this week in Lambert and Isola, Mississippi, for workshops highlighting land management to support migrating ‘shorebirds’ passing through the Delta. Delta Wind Birds, a local nonprofit organization promoting shorebird conservation, partnered with Manomet, a nonprofit focused on bird conservation, education, and business sustainability, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, to host the workshop.
Shorebirds are a family of birds including sandpipers and plovers, which are often associated with sandy beaches and barrier islands. However, these birds rely on other habitat types, like inland wetlands found in the Mississippi River Delta. Many of these birds breed near the Arctic Circle and spend our winter months in South America. Over a million shorebirds pass through the Delta on their annual migrations. Shorebirds may fly thousands of miles nonstop before descending to refuel during migration. Public and private lands in the Delta can provide critical stopover habitat for these birds during their arduous migrations. A three-day public lands workshop provided managers and biologists of National Wildlife Refuges and Wildlife Management Areas with information about the biology, conservation, and habitat management to benefit shorebirds. An additional one-day workshop introduced private land managers to these birds, and the potential of creating shallow water habitat on wetlands, aquaculture impoundments, and agricultural fields. Both workshops included field trips to local sites, where participants observed and learned to identify these birds using binoculars and spotting scopes.
“These workshops really achieved a great deal in a short period of time,” said Mitch Robinson, Conservation Education Manager for Strawberry Plains Audubon Center in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and a participant in the private-lands workshop. “Participants gained a much greater appreciation for the fascinating biology and declining populations of these amazing birds, and learned that they can help, while also fostering a diversity of wildlife on their land, including ducks.” Strawberry Plains Audubon Center and Audubon Mississippi are key partners with Delta Wind Birds in their efforts to promote shorebird habitat in the Delta region.
To learn more about Delta Wind Birds, including opportunities to participate in field trips and bird identification workshops, visit www.deltawindbirds.org. For more information on how Manomet and the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture are working to conserve wildlife regionally and around the world, visit their websites (www.manomet.org, http://www.lmvjv.org/).
Participants in a shorebird management workshop, co-hosted by Manomet, Delta Wind Birds, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Lower MS Valley Joint Venture, study flocks of migrating shorebirds at Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuge in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, on September 29, 2015. Photo by Jason Hoeksema.
A flock of American Avocets visiting a private duck-hunting club in Humphreys County, Mississippi, where shallow water in former catfish ponds provide ideal habitat for these migrating shorebirds. Photo by Jason Hoeksema.