The threat to Delaware’s shorebirds is what fuels the dedication of the people involved in the Delaware Shorebird Project. This team of state and federal scientists, local volunteers, local and international researchers, birders and others is working to mitigate the threat to our shorebirds. Since 1997, the team has researched the populations and health of migratory shorebirds in the Delaware Bay. Their research contributes to an international shorebird network that supports and directs shorebird habitat protection and management plans.
The purpose of the research is to improve our understanding of the importance of the Delaware Bay in the life cycles of migrant shorebirds and their connection to spawning horseshoe crabs. The sound management of the resources upon which shorebirds depend is vital to preserve this breathtaking, awe-inspiring natural cycle for our children and grandchildren.
From the outset, research efforts have been conducted in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology and volunteers from the Wash Wader Ringing Group in Great Britain. In addition, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is an important partner providing staff and logistical support from the Delaware Bay Estuary Project and the Prime Hook/Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge complex. The Delaware Museum of Natural History supports the project by contributing a significant amount of staff time throughout the migratory period. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has also funded important projects.
Biologists from Delaware and New Jersey, with an international team of scientists, have banded more than 60,000 shorebirds in Delaware Bay since 1997. Marking birds with individually-coded leg flags has resulted in a growing database of sightings describing their migration routes and timing, stopover duration and other important aspects of their ecology.
The majority of help has come from local volunteers without which the Delaware Shorebird Project would fail to meet its objectives of conserving and protecting migratory shorebirds. They collect high-quality data during research and monitoring efforts making this citizen science program truly exceptional. Volunteers who support this project exude great enthusiasm for this project and its mission.