CONSERVATION: Tracking Whimbrel Along the Georgia Coast

Did you know that we have some extraordinary migrating birds visiting our area right now?  They are called whimbrel and they only stay for about six weeks, from April to May.  Spotting them can be exciting, but as with all wild animals, it always comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Here is a little TIP: Keep your eyes peeled for biologists with scopes!  Each and every Spring, biologists, conservationists, and bird trackers come to The Golden Isles to spot whimbrel, some of the most amazing and resilient migrating birds on the planet!  Whimbrels are able to log up to 4,500 miles in a single flight and their annual voyage oftentimes tops 15,000 miles, round-trip!

Brad Winn (pictured right), on St. Simons Island with fellow whimbrel conservationists.

If you would like to see the birds for yourself, the Bloody Marsh on St. Simons Island, is a hotspot feeding ground for whimbrels.  You might even get to meet an expert too!  Brad Winn, a biologist with MANOMET, is one of the people you could very well meet.  He studies all types of migrating birds and reported that some of our local whimbrel have been equiped with solar powered trackers and that one of the birds is named, “Postel”, for Postell Road on St. Simons Island!  Brad said that Postel’s flock recently came in from South America and that they are here to feast on the fiddler crabs in the saltmarshes.  Once the whimbrels successfully double their body weight from 12 ounces to 24 ounces, they will fly back up to the Canadian tundra to nest.

Whimbrel coming in for a landing at The Bloody Marsh on May 6th, 2013.

Photo Credit: Brad Winn

Photo Credit: Brad Winn

Interested in learning more about our migrating friends?  Check out these LINKS for more information!

Track Postel on the Whimbrel MAP:

The Shorebird Recovery Project:

The Center for Conservation Biology:


Ramey Shirah, a Southern Coterie contributor, has an exquisite eye for photography and a big heart for conservation and nature.  She lives on St. Simons Island and shares pictures and insights on her blog,  You can also visit Golden Isles Insider on fb or @goldenislesGA on twitter for more insider scoops!

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Tags: birding, c-teamblog, conservation, whimbrels


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