In an effort to celebrate conservation efforts and raise public awareness about shorebird population declines, an international network of birders and scientists is launching the first annual World Shorebirds Day on September 6, 2014.


The celebration was proposed and organized by György Szimuly, a well-known bird conservationist based in Milton Keynes, England.


“The idea to hold a World Shorebirds Day was inspired by the ongoing conservation issues we have been facing,” Szimuly said. “I think that setting a commemorative day for shorebirds will give conservation bodies and individuals another chance to educate.”


The day will be marked by a global shorebird count and a series of local events. Szimuly envisions the eventual creation of a World Shorebirds Day award, to recognize success in shorebird conservation.


Manomet Shorebird Biologist Brad Winn is organizing efforts to celebrate World Shorebirds Day on the Atlantic coast of the United States.


“Shorebird populations around the world can benefit from a collective, international recognition and appreciation,” Winn said. “These unique birds are experiencing similar threats on all sides of the globe.  It doesn’t matter whether it is an American Oystercatcher on the New Jersey coast or a Pied Oystercatcher on the beaches of Australia, the pressures threatening the survival of these birds are the same.  We need global public appreciation to motivate conservation action to stem population declines. World Shorebirds Day is a brilliant and fun way to join together to recognize and celebrate these incredible and beautiful birds.”


More than 160 locations have already been announced as shorebird count sites.


“I think the global shorebird counts are a good get-together event,” Szimuly said. “I asked birdwatchers to book their site now, where they can go counting shorebirds on the 6th and 7th of September. The bookings are visible on a map, and I already like it. I might be too ambitious, but I targeted 1,000 different sites to be involved in the counts and it would be fantastic to reach about 50,000 people.”


To learn more and to sign up for the shorebird count, please visit the official World Shorebirds Day website.


Dave McGlinchey