Shorebird survey list

 

Learn more about monitoring shorebirds in Canada

Shorebird surveys table
Monitoring program Volunteer participation Volunteer skill level Seasonal coverage Geographic coverage in Canada
American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey Yes All Breeding MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, PE
Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM) Yes Intermediate and advanced Breeding YT, NT, NU, QC
International Piping Plover Census Yes Intermediate and advanced Breeding AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, NB, PE, NS, NL
Migration Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Migration PRISM) Yes (SK, ON, NB, NS, PE, NL only) Intermediate and advanced Spring and fall migration BC, SK, ON, NB, NS, PE, NL
Species at Risk Surveys (Shorebirds) Yes and No Various Various Various
Surveys for Wintering Shorebirds in Latin America and the Caribbean Yes Intermediate and advanced Wintering None

American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey

Initiated in 1968, the American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey monitors the breeding population of American Woodcock (Scolopax minor) in North America. On one evening each spring, volunteers and professional biologists collect roadside counts of woodcock making "peent" calls along pre-determined routes. The survey is coordinated by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, in partnership with Bird Studies Canada and various provincial governmental agencies.

Volunteer:
Yes
Requirements to participate:
Birders of any skill level can participate.
For more information, visit
Bird Studies Canada's American Woodcock Singing Ground Survey (Ontario) page and the USFWS' Singing Ground Survey State/Provincial Coordinators Page.

Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM)

The Arctic Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Arctic PRISM) is a partnership between Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada's Science and Technology branch, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey. The program monitors shorebirds, as well as other Arctic birds, on their breeding grounds in the North American Arctic. The surveys, which are conducted by professional biologists with volunteer and student support, began in Alaska in 1997 and in Canada in 2001.

Volunteer:
Yes
Requirements to participate:
Intermediate and advanced birders who are willing to work in remote areas.
For more information, visit
Environment and Climate Change Canada's Arctic PRISM page.

International Piping Plover Census

Initiated in 1991, the International Piping Plover Census monitors the breeding population of Piping Plovers (Charadrius melodus) in Canada and parts of the United States every five years. The Piping Plover is a Species at Risk in both countries. Over a two week period from early to mid-June, professional biologists and volunteers search specified wetlands and beaches and record numbers of adult Piping Plovers. The survey is facilitated by the International Piping Plover Coordination Group, which is comprised of leaders or representatives of Piping Plover recovery teams in Canada and the United States. Individual surveys are organized with the assistance of state, provincial, island, and regional coordinators. Surveys are also carried out every five years in most of the birds' known wintering range (U.S. southern Atlantic and Gulf coast states, Mexico, and Caribbean islands such as the Bahamas) in late January and early February.

Volunteer:
Yes
Requirements to participate:
Intermediate and advanced birders who can identify shorebirds.
For more information, contact
PIPL-PLSI@ec.gc.ca

Migration Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (Migration PRISM)

The Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM) was designed in 2001 by Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey. The migration monitoring component of PRISM aims to ensure the coordination of all new and existing shorebird migration surveys in the western hemisphere. Observers are assigned a particular site, which they monitor throughout the migration period, estimating the number of shorebirds seen during each visit. Observers may also provide details about habitat and tide conditions at their site. Several volunteer-based shorebird surveys and one non-volunteer survey are active in Canada:

  1. Begun in 1974, the Atlantic Canada Shorebird Survey is conducted by volunteers in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The majority of counts occur during fall migration, but some occur during spring migration.
  2. Also begun in 1974, the Ontario Shorebird Survey is a volunteer-based survey of shorebirds migrating through Ontario during spring and fall migration.
  3. The British Columbia Shorebird Survey is conducted by CWS biologists at two locations in British Columbia. Since 1991, daily counts have been conducted at Roberts Bank, on the Fraser River Delta, during spring migration. Since 1992, weekly counts have been conducted at Sidney Island, in the Strait of Georgia, during fall migration.
  4. A volunteer program at Chaplin Lake, Saskatchewan, which is a key stopover site and a designated Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site, is currently being explored and would represent an expansion of the program into the Prairies.
Volunteer:
Yes (SK, ON, NB, NS, PE, NL only)
Requirements to participate:
Intermediate and advanced birders who can identify shorebirds.
For more information, visit
Environment and Climate Change Canada's Migration PRISM page.

Species at Risk Surveys (Shorebirds)

Environment and Climate Change Canada runs or supports several species-specific surveys and/or monitoring programs for Species at Risk. These programs are generally described in each species' recovery documents, available on the Species at Risk Public Registry (see following links). These programs include the International Piping Plover Census (for both the circumcinctus and melodus subspecies), the South American Red Knot Survey (for the islandica, roselaari and rufa subspecies), and surveys for Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus), Eskimo Curlew (Numenius borealis) and Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus).

Surveys for Wintering Shorebirds in Latin America and the Caribbean

Many shorebird species that breed in remote parts of Canada winter in Latin America and the Caribbean, where they are easier to survey because they occupy more accessible areas and/or congregate in large numbers. These surveys can provide valuable information about the status of Canadian shorebirds. Environment and Climate Change Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) has been supporting the Neotropical Waterbird Census since its inception in 1991, through funding provided to Wetlands International. This volunteer-based survey is active in 14 countries in South America, providing the greatest geographic coverage and longest time series for shorebirds, waterbirds and waterfowl in that region. Support is also being given to two new related surveys in Central America and the Caribbean.

Another key survey supported by CWS is an annual survey of the grasslands of South America through the Southern Cone Grassland Alliance partnership (available in Spanish only). This survey is conducted by ornithologists from BirdLife International partners in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Other work conducted in Latin America includes regular surveys for Red Knot (Calidris canutus) in the southern part of its range and periodic aerial surveys of coastal regions of South America. This work builds on a huge effort conducted in the 1980s to atlas shorebird use off the entire coast of South America.

Volunteer:
Yes (Neotropical Waterbird Census only)
Requirements to participate:
Intermediate and advanced birders in Latin America and the Caribbean who can identify shorebirds.
For more information, visit
Wetlands International's Neotropical Waterbird Census page.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: