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Satellite Tracking

Why did animal X stop transmitting?

Whimbrel Tracking in the Americas

A project of The Center for Conservation Biology in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
Akpik WhimbrelAdult2012-06-212013-08-25430
Akuni WhimbrelAdult2014-06-132014-09-26105
Ann WhimbrelAdult2010-05-192010-07-2264
Aolayaatok WhimbrelAdult2013-06-242014-08-29431
Arvoknar WhimbrelAdult2014-06-162014-10-10116
Banks WhimbrelAdult2013-06-232014-05-20331
Boxer WhimbrelAdult2009-05-182009-07-2669
Cabretta WhimbrelAdult2013-05-132013-09-13123
Chinquapin WhimbrelAdult2010-05-222012-03-24672
Cobb WhimbrelAdult2011-05-172011-07-1559
Delta Hudsonian GodwitAdult2013-06-242013-09-1381
Elki WhimbrelAdult2009-05-212009-06-2838
Fowler WhimbrelAdult2009-05-192009-06-0719
Goshen WhimbrelAdult2010-08-142011-09-13395
Gould WhimbrelAdult2012-05-052012-07-1571
Hope WhimbrelAdult2009-05-192012-12-051296
Indi WhimbrelAdult2009-05-222009-07-2564
Kimialuk WhimbrelAdult2014-06-162014-09-1591
Kitt WhimbrelAdult2009-09-052010-02-27175
Machi WhimbrelAdult2009-08-202011-09-13754
Mackay WhimbrelAdult2013-05-132014-04-29351
Mackenzie WhimbrelAdult2012-06-112013-08-20435
Miller WhimbrelAdult2010-05-192010-10-31165
Ossabaw WhimbrelAdult2013-05-222014-09-15481
Pingo WhimbrelAdult2012-06-122014-05-10697
Pongo WhimbrelAdult2009-08-202010-02-01165
Postel WhimbrelAdult2012-05-062015-11-301303
Ramsey WhimbrelAdult2010-05-192010-08-1487
Southampton WhimbrelAdult2013-06-202015-06-16726
Taglu WhimbrelAdult2012-06-302013-11-11499
Taimunga WhimbrelAdult2014-06-172015-02-26254
Upinraaq WhimbrelAdult2014-06-172016-07-22766
Vicky WhimbrelAdult2014-06-162014-09-1490
Webb WhimbrelAdult2009-08-242010-05-27276
Willy WhimbrelAdult2008-08-142008-11-1795
Winnie WhimbrelAdult2008-05-202008-08-30102
Wolf WhimbrelAdult2013-05-262014-05-30369

Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.

Introduction

The whimbrel is a large, holarctic, highly migratory shorebird. The North American race includes two disjunct breeding populations both of which winter primarily in Central and South America. The western population breeds in Alaska and the Northwest Territories of Canada. The eastern population breeds south and west of Hudson Bay in Manitoba and Ontario. It has generally been believed that the western population follows a Pacific Coast migration route between breeding and wintering areas and that the Hudson Bay population follows an Atlantic Coast route. Both populations are of high conservation concern due to dramatic declines in recent decades.

For more than a decade, scientists have believed that the seaside of the lower Delmarva Peninsula in Virginia played a significant role in the life cycle of the whimbrel. During spring migration in the mid-1990s, Bryan Watts from the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary and Barry Truitt of The Nature Conservancy documented the densest concentration of whimbrels ever recorded in the western hemisphere within the barrier island lagoon system of the lower Delmarva Peninsula. Since that time, it has been believed that the Eastern Shore of Virginia represents a critical, coastal staging area where birds feed on the staggering numbers of fiddler crabs that inhabit the lagoon system and build up energy reserves before making their last overland flight to the breeding grounds. However, it has always been assumed that the birds staging along the lower Delmarva were exclusively from the Hudson Bay population. The flight documented in spring 2008 (see Winnie's map) has forced a change in thinking regarding the origin of birds using this stopover site.

Beginning in 2008, the Center for Conservation Biology collaborated with The Nature Conservancy to investigate the stopover ecology of whimbrels along the Delmarva Peninsula. The study includes aerial surveys to estimate seasonal numbers, traditional transmitters to examine stopover periods, and satellite transmitters to document migration pathways and breeding destinations for birds leaving the site. The seaside of the Delmarva Peninsula has been recognized as a globally important bird area, a hemispheric shorebird reserve, and a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The discovery that whimbrels use the site as a terminal staging area before embarking on a transcontinental flight suggests that the site is uniquely suited to provide the tremendous amount of energy required to prepare birds for such a flight.

Continued research planned by CCB and TNC in Virginia will investigate whimbrel stopover ecology and the broader strategic importance of this site to whimbrel populations.

In 2010, Georgia Department of Natural Resources began tracking Whimbrel from another important migration stopover on the east coast of North America. Georgia's barrier island and salt-marsh complex provide excellent stopover habitat for refueling on their migration from their wintering grounds in South America to the breeding grounds in the Arctic.

Names for the Vriginia Whimbrels are landmarks near where the Whimbrel congregate on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (Hope Creek, Box Tree, Fowling Point, Elkins Marsh, Hope Creek, Indian Creek, town of Machipongo, Webb Island, Ramshorn Channel, Mill Creek, and Kitt Creek).

Project Partners

Funding, staff, and additional resources for this project were provided by the following partners: The Nature Conservancy (Virginia and Georgia Chapters), Georgia Department of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Canadian Wildlife Service, Manomet Center for Conservation Studies, and the Center for Conservation Biology.

           

           

   

           

           

  • The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without explicit written consent.
  • For more information please visit the project website.
  • If you have questions or would like to request the use of maps or data for this project please contact conbio@wm.edu.

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