Efforts to Save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper
Bird on the edge of extinction
Spoon-billed sandpipers are, regrettably, in the path of extinction. Only a few hundred individuals, perhaps only 60 breeding pairs, if even that, are alive on this Earth. The reason for their decline has to do with increasing human population in their winter range resulting in loss of habitat not only in their home ranges, but on their migration route, too. Hunting directly or indirectly affects this bird as well. Even if the sandpiper is not the direct target for hunters, the bird may fall into traps set for larger prey. The spoon billed sandpiper spends the winter in east Asia in places like Thailand, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. They breed in the summer way up north in Siberia just across the straits from Alaska where they are also occasionally seen.
However, there may be hope for their recovery. Right now, organizations like Bird Life International (Save Spoony) are working to secure the sandpiper's future. They are working with various southeast Asian people and countries to provide protection and a place to live.
They are about the size of a western sandpiper and use their unique shaped bill to feel for food.
***Without intervention, this bird may be extinct by 2018****
The photo for this lens was provided by John Harrison and Wikimedia.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Breeding Plumage
In the summer, the spoon-billed sandpiper gets a reddish hue similar to a red knot. Recently a small group of these sandpipers were taken to England for a captive breeding program. Researchers are also working with local people in the birds' range to find better ways to protect them. Already, some habitat has been acquired to be set aside as a preserve for these small birds.
The artwork in this module is in the public domain. It was done by John Gerrard Kuelemans in 1869.
Humans both help and hurt this bird
Scientists are working hard setting up breeding in England and other places to help this species get back on its feet. One of the problems is that hunters and trappers in their breeding and wintering territories accidentally catch and kill this bird. They leave traps to catch other types of more plentiful species of shorebirds, but catch these little guys instead. They end up selling them in markets for the equivalent of a couple of quarters each. Work is currently going on to help find people engaged in this activity find another way to make a living.
Most of the threats to this species are in its winter feeding range. It's summer breeding range is in the arctic tundra of Russia where few people live. Very little studies have been done in their breeding range until recently, such as when the first even spoon-billed sandpiper nest was filmed.
The species is said to have never really been all too common in the first place, but increased hunting pressure in its southern range, as well as expanding human population using more and more of their breeding range makes it hard to recover.
See the videos below on how organizations are helping this bird.
Photo is a drawing by Henry Seebohm, done in 1890.
Places to see Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Photos
There are not a lot of free images that I could use for this lens due to copyright reasons. So, here are some links to the best spoon billed sandpiper photos I could find on the internet so far.
- Spoon billed sandpiper on Birdlife.org's website
Zheng Jianping / www.rarebirdsyearbook.com
- Saving the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper Blog Photos
Photos taken as part of the project to help save these birds. Be sure to check out the entire site with lots of information about the birds and how you can help. This site is said to be working with all groups involved with saving the spoon-billed sa
- ARKive - Spoon-billed sandpiper videos, photos and facts - Eurynorhynchus pygmeus
Learn more about the Spoon-billed sandpiper - with amazing Spoon-billed sandpiper photos and facts on ARKive
- Saving Spoony on Birdlife.org
John O'Sullivan/ RSPB; Spoon-billed Sandpiper chick 655
- MIC_9332a | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus) The Spoonie - a small wader which breeds in northeastern Russia and winters in Southeast Asia, is critically endangered, with a current population of fewer than 2500 - probably fewer than 1000 - mature
Spoon billed sandpiper videos
Here are a few Youtube videos of spoon billed sandpipers. I will try to add more later on if I find them. I especially like the ones with the little chicks. I like that there's one with an actual nest in the wild. There are a few on courtship and other breeding behavior. I hope you enjoy them, too.
Items on endangered and nearly extinct animals
Help add to your library or collection these items on endangered animals and how to help them.
Over 200 photos of rare and almost extinct birds with maps on where to find them. There are also success stories and stories about birds that most people might have never heard of before.
Stories of birds that have gone extinct very recently and the people who have tried to save them. This book reminds you not to take common animals for granted and don't assume they've recovered from near-extinction even when numbers seem better.
Read about the spoon billed sandpiper
Here are a few sites where you can read about the sandpiper and its conservation. I will try to find more articles and information as it comes about.
- Spoon-billed Sandpiper exhibition opens in the Russian Arctic
Russian exhibit all about the spoon-billed sandpiper. This large exhibit includes many different videos, papers, and posters. Read more about the special exhibition through this link.
- Saving the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper
Various articles related to the current spoon bill sandpiper project. This page contains a lot of information on how to save this bird.
- Fighting to Save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper From Extinction In Five Years | Audubon Magazine
This was a spotlight for the Nov-Dec 2012 Audubon Magazine article about the plight of the little sandpiper. It explains how critical it is to save this bird and the issue with over-hunting on the bird's wintering ground.
- Saving Spoony
Saving the weird and charismatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper. This page is sponsored by Bird Life International and is your one-stop location for information and donations. Check out the cute little chick on the front page, too.
- Finding Help for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper; Round Robin
Efforts to save Spoony as told by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Spoon-billed sandpiper health screening
Check out this article on how scientists are monitoring the health of the spoon-billed sandpipers. Especially check out the cute bird in the little tube which is used to weigh them with the least chance of injury and stress.
- First Spoon-billed Sandpiper chicks hatch in captivity - WorldWaders News Blog
18 little chickies hatched. This is an account on how the chicks came to the UK and what happened to them. I believe that most of the chicks survived and were released back into the Russian tundra later on.
- First Ever Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper Chicks Hatch in the UK - ZooBorns
This is a follow-up story related to the one above: Fourteen Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers were hatched in captivity at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire this week, a first for the UK and only
How you can help
Organizations involved with this little bird desperately need money to help save them. Here's a list of sites where you can donate to help the spoon-billed sandpiper. It's important to check out each organization before donating. None of these organizations have any association with the author of this page.
Because of the locations of the organizations, most donations have to be made in British pounds. Contact the organization to find out how to donate in other types of currencies.
- Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) - Spoon-billed Sandpiper appeal
WWT is a leading UK conservation organisation saving wetlands with nine UK wetland visitor centres, consulting and conservation teams working worldwide.
- Saving the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper--Donate
Donate to help save the Spoon-billed Sandpiper *Note* Despite the similar title to this page, this site has no connection to me or Squidoo.
- Waderquest's fundraising campaign
Rick Simpson is trying to raise money for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Captive Breeding Program. Donations can be done in several different types of currencies.
- Spoony's donation site
Birdlife International's own donation site similar to Rick Simpson's page. Both pages are managed by the Just Giving and donations can be made in several different types of currencies. Donations on this page go towards the entire spoon-billed sandpip
What ways do you think will help the spoon billed sandpiper? I sure hope this bird doesn't go the way of the Eskimo curlew or the passenger pigeon.