A project of GA Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.
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In May 2010, as part of a long-term study of whimbrel spring staging ecology in Georgia, Nongame Conservation Section staff partnered with colleagues at the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) at the College of William and Mary to fit two northbound Georgia whimbrels with solar-powered satellite transmitters.
CCB staff, along with the Virginia chapter of The Nature Conservancy Coastal Reserve staff, have been tagging Virginia birds for three years. Both the Virginia and Georgia chapters of The Nature Conservancy, as well as the Nongame Conservation Section's friends group, The Environmental Resources Network (T.E.R.N.), have been instrumental in funding these projects.
Whimbrels coming from wintering grounds on the coast of South America spend 6-8 weeks feeding in the marshes of mid- and southeastern Atlantic states. These large-bodied shorebirds put on significant weight during these weeks by eating tremendous numbers of fiddler crabs. Like red knots gorging on horseshoe crab eggs, thin whimbrels touching down in April begin to resemble footballs before leaving in late May. The energy they store in fat and muscle will carry them far.
This species represents many other migrant shorebirds that depend entirely on the thin margin of coastal wetland habitats that border the Atlantic states as they prepare to launch into the Arctic to establish territories and nest. Protecting and maintaining the integrity and health of our coastal lands through risk-averse management and broad conservation efforts has benefits locally and to life well beyond our borders.
Additional support provided by The Environmental Resources Network (T.E.R.N., the Georgia chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.