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Investigators carry out a Nearctic beach bird census in the Chaihuín River wetlands

Coast of the South American Pacific Ocean


The study will identify the places of importance for these birds and it will also permit to develop beach bird investigation initiatives on a local scale.

Thursday, march 20, 2014. It is a project carried out by a team of investigators and volunteers from the Network of Bird and Wildlife Watchers of Chile (Spanish acronym ROC) and members of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), whose main aim was to compile information for future initiatives with regard to conservation strategies for these birds.

During the northern winter, the coast of the South American Pacific Ocean is home to a large number of beach birds from the Nearctic, an eco-zone that includes a large part of North America, Greenland and a part of Mexico.

Despite the importance of these migratory birds, the monitoring and investigation efforts of these bird populations are scarce. There is no information that would tell us how many birds come to the South American coasts during the year and the way they are distributed along this 12,534 kilometer long stretch.

It is why the study wanted to quantify the beach bird populations in Chile in this project led by ROC, and also in Peru with the participation of the Ornithology and Biodiversity Center (Spanish acronym CORBIDI). Similarly, the study will identify the places of importance for these birds and it will also permit to develop beach bird investigation initiatives on a local scale.

The census carried out in Chaihuín managed to recognize more than 20 bird species that use the wetlands located along with the Chaihuín Bridge as their resting and feeding area. An important number of birds were idientified including South American terns (Sterna hirundinacea) and elegant terns (Thalasseus elegans), in addition to pitotoyes (Tringa flavipes and Tringa melanoleuca), playeros blancos (Calidris alba) and Baird beach birds (Calidris bairdii), among other species.

The presence of dairy cattle, dogs and other human activity were some of the threats that were identified for these migratory birds that use these wetlands .

It is hoped that this investigation should permit to prepare strategies to mitigate these threats and to turn this type of places into conservation spaces. The compiled information will be published in an Atlas of Nearcitc Beach Birds of Peru – Chile.

Photo by Belen Rivera

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