Our Celebrate Shorebirds interns conduct shorebird surveys as part of an initiative known as CRIMBI (Cooper River International Migratory Bird Initiative) that was established by multiple organizations, both domestic and international. The initiative is intended to secure the conservation of migratory birds among the entire pacific flyway. Our interns are stationed at the Copper River Delta in Cordova, Alaska. the Copper River Delta has extensive intertidal and freshwater wetlands that provide stopover and nesting habitat for as many as five million shorebirds representing 30 species. The Delta is a critical staging area for shorebirds that continue the journey north to nesting grounds. Because of the concentration of birds at the site, surveys are important to identifying population declines and maintaining annual information about shorebird populations.
This Delta has been designated a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve-Hemispheric Site, recognizing its global importance to shorebirds. Of the 53 shorebird species that occur in the United States, 29 breed only in Alaska. Twenty percent of these species have declining population trends. Most of them depend on the Copper River Delta as a major stopover site. Surveys at this site will also focus on Western Sandpiper and Dunlin, species for which the Delta is the most important migratory stopover. As much as 80% of Western Sandpipers and almost all Dunlins stop here to feed before continuing north to breeding grounds.
The abundance of shorebirds that make the Delta a routine stop, has given rise to the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, a celebration of the extensive beauty and wonder that accompanies migrating shorebirds through the Copper River Delta. The annual festival is held during a weekend in May and provides people with guided/self excursions, educational programming, expert speakers, art and crafts workshops and the Cordova birding challenge. As part of their internship, our interns host and educational program at the festival.
To learns more about the initiative or the Copper River Delta, visit the US Forest Service website at: http://www.fs.fed.us
To learn more about the festival, visit the festival home page at: http://www.copperriverdeltashorebirdfestival.com/the-festival/