The Global Shorebird Counting Program started in 2014 and since then it became the most popular event of World Shorebirds Day. The widely used eBird have been chosen for data submission and checklist sharing which is now the leading citizen science platform among worldwide. Shared data was easily downloadable from the World Shorebirds Day eBird account and gave us the possibility to make basic analysis of the counting results.
In 2014 shorebird counts have been carried out between 5–7 September and in 2015 it was between 4–6 September. One of the Global Shorebird Counting dates always involves the 6th of September, the actual World Shorebirds Day. In 2016 counts were carrying out for 5 days between 2–6 September. Despite having more than 1,000 locations registered in 2014 prior to the counting dates, the number of actual counts were less than a half of the registered sites. In 2015 the ratio was much better, as less locations were registered than in 2014 but on most of them checklists were recorded.
As expected the highest number of checklists were submitted from North America where eBird has the strongest member base and where World Shorebirds Day received the most intensive support throuh Birds Caribbean, the extensive network of Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) and the eBird Team, to mention a few.
Support and engagement with Global Shorebird Counting in Europe is probably the weakest considering the very high density of potential birdwatchers. One of the reasons is the refusal of using eBird even for this special short term event. In Europe only a fraction of birdwatchers was reached through social media and some major bird conservation organisation refused to share the invitation with their members.
In 2015 a few percent fewer shorebird species were recorded than in 2014. In both years less than half of the total number of shorebird species (241) were seen. Timing of Global Shorebird Counting would allow to find a lot more species but it would only correlate with a much higher coverage of migration stopover and wintering sites.
The frequency of shorebird species reported in each checklist shows almost similar results in both 2014 and 2015.
To be continued…