Kate Sherren

Landscapes - People - Global change

Tag: beach users

30 years of WHSRN, 3 for Space to Roost

MES student Jaya Fahey talks about shorebirds at the WHSRN 30 year celebration today at Evangeline Beach (photo: Richard Stern)

MES student Jaya Fahey talks about shorebirds at the WHSRN 30 year celebration today at Evangeline Beach (photo: Richard Stern)

Meanwhile, the signs have gone up at Avonport Beach for year three of Space to Roost.

Meanwhile, the signs have gone up at Avonport Beach for year three of Space to Roost.

Colleagues at Bird Studies Canada and Nature Conservancy Canada joined with other conservation groups today at Evangeline Beach at Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, to celebrate 30 years that the Minas Basin has been recognized by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) as a globally significant bird habitat. MES student and BSC intern Jaya Fahey was interviewed for local media. The timing is significant: it is the leading edge of the time that the area hosts millions of shorebirds migrating south from the Arctic. These birds need to eat and gain weight and above all rest, because the next step is a big one: three days swim over the ocean non-stop to South America … and they can’t swim! The signs have already gone up at Avonport (left) to recruit beach users to help us set aside high-tide resting beaches while the birds are here. This is year three of Space to Roost, the second using resting beaches. We have some indication already that these resting beaches reduce human disturbance; this year should help us fully understand their effectiveness.

Space to Roost partner meeting in Kentville

Space to Roost partner meeting in Kentville, March 27, 2018

Space to Roost partner meeting in Kentville, March 27, 2018

It was a lovely day to get in the car and head to Kentville to meet with partners from our Space to Roost project, including the Blomidon Naturalist Society, Nature Conservancy Canada and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. MES candidate Jaya Fahey shared results from our implementation of shorebird resting beaches at two beaches in the Minas Basin, an Important Bird Area. We negotiated those resting beaches with user groups and human-caused bird disturbance also dropped: great news! Enjoyed refining our approach for 2018 with this keen and experienced group.

Angling for answers

Bilingual material about making space for shorebirds to rest this migration season.

Bilingual material about making space for shorebirds to rest this migration season.

As shorebirds start to arrive in the Bay of Fundy on their annual migration back south, it is a good time to report on our recent survey with striped bass anglers and outline our plans for the summer. We implemented an online survey with anglers who use key roosting sites in the Minas Basin, particularly ‘the Guzzle‘, to help us explore options for sharing beach space with migrating shorebirds at their high-tide resting period. This was in lieu of trying to assemble a workshop or focus group. The response was excellent, and we are now sharing the results here (PDF). On the basis of this feedback, and engagement with beach users in Avonport, our other key site, we have developed bilingual materials (above) that explain why, where and how to help shorebirds rest to ensure a successful migration back south: it’s a three-day trip over the Gulf of Mexico and they can’t swim! With anglers and other beach users we have identified lesser-used areas of each site to pilot setting aside at high tide for shorebird roosting, The back of the above card features a tide table that shows the times in August 2017 that we hope people will leave the sites for bird use, and signs at each place will explain further. We enjoyed this process of developing conservation ideas WITH beach users, many of whom are already great stewards of these birds. Space to Roost researcher Jaya Fahey will then be monitoring bird disturbance this year, as she did last year, and we’ll hope to see a difference.

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