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Shorebird Biology and Ecology


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TurnstoneShorebirds are small to medium-sized birds that take advantage of a variety of habitats for migration and nesting. They are uniquely adapted to take advantage of aquatic environments -- ocean shores, rivers, lakes and marshes. For instance, they can forage at different water depths based on the length of their legs, and they can access food at various soil and water depths due to the length and shape of their bills.

(Left: Ruddy turnstone; below left: American avocet; below right: Willet)

American Avocet Willet


Dunlin and semipalmated sandpiper Some shorebirds live their entire life cycle in one region while others migrate between breeding and wintering grounds. Some migratory shorebirds fly great distances spanning multiple continents with key staging area “rest stops” along the way. In Delaware, a variety of shorebird species utilize the bay and ocean shores, tidal rivers and coastal marshes throughout the year and during spring migrations - with some long distance migrants reliant on Delaware and New Jersey’s coastal resources.

(Right: Dunlin)


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