When looking for Whimbrels, there’s no better place than the saltmarshes of Wellfleet, Massachusetts.  It’s a prime feeding location for the staging Whimbrels—lots of Fiddler crabs to snack on!—so that’s where Manomet staff headed to put two satellite transmitters on young Whimbrels.  This is part of a long-term study of migration ecology of these large tundra-nesting shorebirds. 


Photo credit: Brad Winn

Very little is known about the migration needs and migrations routes of young shorebirds leaving the far north for the first time and flying non-stop down to wintering areas of the tropics.  One of the birds has flown between Hurricanes Mathew and Nicole, over the Lesser Antilles, and is currently on the coast of Guyana! 


Mass Audubon’s Mark Faherty went along with Brad Winn, Manomet’s Director, Shorebird Habitat Management, to scout out the new locations and reported on it on Cape Cod’s NPR station.  You can read and listen to the story about Manomet’s Whimbrel tracking here.


“Using satellite tracking to study Whimbrel migrations allows us to develop a better understanding of the threats that impact their population,” said Winn. “Each bird relies on only a handful of sites each year. With knowledge of which sites they depend on and how those sites are connected, we are able to develop better strategies to protect this declining species.”