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Read the article of the pulitzer-nominated author Scott Weidensaul published in the Autumn 2018 issue of Living Bird magazine:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/losing-ground-whats-behind-the-worldwide-decline-of-shorebirds/

    Featured image: Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, September 2018, Romania. ©G. Bigayon
“Losing Ground: What’s Behind the Worldwide Decline of Shorebirds?” by Scott Weidensaul

Read the article of the pulitzer-nominated author Scott Weidensaul published in the Autumn 2018 issue of Living Bird magazine: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/losing-ground-whats-behind-the-worldwide-decline-of-shorebirds/     Featured image: Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, September 2018, Romania. ©G. Bigayon

A research team in Singapore, led by Dr. Frank Rheindt (National University of Singapore) and David Li (National Parks Board, Singapore), is embarking on a project to investigate the global population genomic structure of two shorebird species: the Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) and the Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus). The team is currently seeking contributions of:
  1. Common Redshank samples from sampling gaps in eastern Europe to Central Asia, China, far east Russia, and Japan;
  2. Lesser Sand Plover samples from across its breeding range in east Russia and from Central Asia to China.
For significant contributions, we will be happy to confer co-authorship. For both studies, Next-Generation sequencing approach (ddRADSeq) will be applied. This technique yields thousands of loci from throughout the genomes of these birds, but will require rather good DNA quality samples. Blood and muscle tissue or organ tissue samples would be best, but feathers sometimes also work if they are large and sturdy – such as large primaries and rectrices. Interested contributors can get in touch with Dr Frank Rheindt (dbsrfe@nus.edu.sg) for more information and before samples are sent. A completed treatment letter with respective institution letterhead will be required for import permit application and can be downloaded at our lab website: https://avianevonus.com/documents/. Shipments should always include the original treatment letter and import permit. Sample shipments can be addressed to: Dr Frank Rheindt Department of Biological Sciences S3 Level 4 National University of Singapore 16 Science Drive 4 Singapore 117558 Republic of Singapore [caption id="attachment_11382" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus, April 2012, Laem Phak Bia, Phetchaburi, Thailand. ©Jason Thompson[/caption]   Featured image: Common Redshank Tringa totanus, April 2017, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA. ©Christoph Müller.
International call for research samples | Genomic structure of Common Redshank & Lesser Sand Plover

A research team in Singapore, led by Dr. Frank Rheindt (National University of Singapore) and David Li (National Parks Board, Singapore), is embarking on a project to investigate the global population genomic structure of two shorebird species: the Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) and the Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus). The team is currently seeking contributions of: Common Redshank samples from sampling gaps in eastern Europe to Central Asia, China, far east Russia, and Japan; Lesser

A 3 year postdoctoral position is available immediately at University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Hungary. Application deadline is 30 September 2018. Originally posted by Dr Andras Kosztolanyi (andras.kosztolanyi@gmail.com):

Life history consequences of nest site selection in shorebirds

3 year post-doc position at University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Hungary

PDF Download: NestCoverPostDocJob Background Choosing nest sites is a major life history decision, since the vegetation around the nest influences both the risk of predation and the thermal properties of eggs and the incubating parent. In this project we aim to investigate nest site selection in a ground nesting shorebird with biparental incubation, the Kentish plover. Because of the different daily incubation schedule of the sexes, nest cover can be a sexually antagonistic trait, furthermore individuals may have consistent preferences for nest sites. In the project we aim to understand the costs and benefits of this important life history decision, and its relation to sexual conflict and personality of parents. The project is led by Dr Andras Kosztolanyi (Univ Vet Med Budapest, Hungary), Prof Zoltan Barta (Univ Debrecen, Hungary) and Prof Tamas Szekely (Univ Bath, UK), and will be run in close collaboration with the “ELVONAL (cutting edge) - Breeding system evolution in shorebirds” project of the University of Debrecen, Hungary. The research group uses English as communication language.   The job This job offers an opportunity for an early-stage post-doc who wants to combine fieldwork with cutting-edge evolutionary and behavioural science. The main tasks of the post-doc are to carry out and supervise field studies in Kazakhstan, Russia and/or China (possibly in other countries). We seek candidates with experience in behavioural ecology and field biology preferable with birds, shorebirds. Publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals, excellent communication skills, and solid skills in data handling are essential.   This is a full-time position and the salary will be above the normal Hungarian level (up to 1200 EUR, depending on experience). Note that the cost of living in Hungary is substantially less than in Western Europe. The position is for 36 months (subject to probation period). See further specifications below.   How to apply Application deadline is 30 September 2018. The application should include (1) a max two pages cover letter, (2) a CV with list of publications, and (3) the name and contact details of four referee preferably from research, academia or conservation. The applications should be emailed to Ms Fanni Takacs (fancsi_t@hotmail.com). Interviews will be in early October and the position is available from 1 November 2018.   For further information please contact Ms Fanni Takacs (fancsi_t@hotmail.com).   Selected publications AlRashidi, M. et al. 2011. Parental cooperation in an extreme hot environment: natural behaviour and experimental evidence. Animal Behaviour 82: 235-243. Bulla, M. et al. 2016. Unexpected diversity in socially synchronized rhythms of shorebirds. Nature 540: 109-1013. Eberhart-Phillips, L. J. et al. 2018. Demographic causes of adult sex ratio variation and their consequences for parental cooperation. Nature Communications 9: 1651 Vincze, O. et al. 2016. Parental cooperation in a changing climate: fluctuating environments predict shifts in care division. Global Ecology and Biogeography 26: 347-358.   Job description
  • The post-doc will carry out field observations and experiments in plover populations in Kazakhstan, Russia and/or China
  • supervise PhD students and research assistants, and coordinate research with external collaborators
  • coordinate sampling, behavioural recording, data analyses, and preparations of manuscripts for publication
  • present the results at conferences and research seminars, and promote the results of the project
  • assist administration associated with the project
  • carry out other scientific and/or academic activities that are deemed necessary for the success of the project
  Requirements
  • PhD in evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, zoology, or relevant field of life sciences
  • solid knowledge of evolutionary biology, behavioural ecology, and/or ornithology
  • experience carrying out or supervising large-scale research projects
  • at least 2 years experience in avian field ecology, behavioural ecology or a relevant field
  • good skills in statistical modelling, and advanced knowledge of R programming and database management
  • at least 5 published (or accepted) research papers in peer-reviewed journals
  • international field experience studying wild populations (preferably birds)
  • experience in bird ringing and preferably ringing licence
  • valid driving licence
  Dr Andras Kosztolanyi (andras.kosztolanyi@gmail.com) [caption id="attachment_11353" align="aligncenter" width="330"] kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus, ©Chung Yu.[/caption]   Featured image: Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, July 2018, Finland. ©Guillaume Bigayon.
Immediate Postdoctoral position | nest site selection in shorebirds

A 3 year postdoctoral position is available immediately at University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Hungary. Application deadline is 30 September 2018. Originally posted by Dr Andras Kosztolanyi (andras.kosztolanyi@gmail.com): Life history consequences of nest site selection in shorebirds 3 year post-doc position at University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Hungary PDF Download: NestCoverPostDocJob Background Choosing nest sites is a major life history decision, since the vegetation around

Visit the official website of the World Shorebirds Day to learn more about this event set for raising public awarness about the importance of shorebird conservation at: https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com/ The counts will be carried out between 5–11 September 2018. Registration and reporting process are very simple to handle. All you have to do then is birdwatching! Have a nice World Shorebirds Day! Featured image: Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus, 20-April-2018 Somme Bay France ©Guillaume Bigayon.
The 2018 World Shorebirds Day opens

Visit the official website of the World Shorebirds Day to learn more about this event set for raising public awarness about the importance of shorebird conservation at: https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com/ The counts will be carried out between 5–11 September 2018. Registration and reporting process are very simple to handle. All you have to do then is birdwatching! Have a nice World Shorebirds Day! Featured image: Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus, 20-April-2018 Somme Bay France

Jeroen Reneerkens reports about his remarkable 2018 field season in NE Greenland where excessive spring snowfall results in a non-breeding year for shorebirds. "What are the consequences of a non-breeding season for the Sanderling population??? This will depend on the scale at which the snow cover has affected Sanderling reproduction": Jeroen calls for a renewed effort on reporting the proportion of juvenile Sanderlings within flocks between August and November, following his standardised protocol. Read the full story "Excessive spring snowfall results in a non-breeding year for shorebirds in NE Greenland" on Global Flyway Ecology website: Featured image: 27 June 2018, the Zackenberg valley, Greenland. ©Jeroen Reneerkens.
Excessive spring snowfall results in a non-breeding year for shorebirds in NE Greenland

Jeroen Reneerkens reports about his remarkable 2018 field season in NE Greenland where excessive spring snowfall results in a non-breeding year for shorebirds. "What are the consequences of a non-breeding season for the Sanderling population??? This will depend on the scale at which the snow cover has affected Sanderling reproduction": Jeroen calls for a renewed effort on reporting the proportion of juvenile Sanderlings within flocks between August and November, following his standardised

Solar geolocation with open access tools

Registration for 1.5 day workshop at the IOC congress in Vancouver, 19-20 August 2018, is now open!
If you are interested in attending the course please visit this signup page to provide your contact information and to answer a few quick questions about your coding background.
Original post from Eldar Rakhimberdiev (Author of FLightR), Simeon Lisovski (Author of GeoLight) and Eli Bridge (Head Cheerleader):
Our apologies for the late notice but we want to announce that there will be a 1.5 day short course in geolocation analysis in association with the International Ornithological Congress in August. We have been unable to come to terms with the IOC organizers about the location of this course, but one way or another we will have it in Vancouver on August 19 (Noon to 6pm) and August 20 (8am to 5pm)—just before the conference. It is uncertain as to whether this course will be listed on the IOC website, so we wanted people to be aware of it as they make travel plans. Please share this announcement with anyone who may be interested. We have no intention of excluding anyone. For more details on the contents of the course, please see the attached description.
If you are interested in attending the course please visit this signup page to provide your contact information and to answer a few quick questions about your coding background:
We will probably ask for a $20 fee at some point to cover any room rental fees and other expenses (and to discourage no-shows). We have limited the course size to 40 attendees. If you have any questions, feel free to contact any of the organizers.
For those of you going to IOC we look forward to seeing you there. To everyone else, please excuse the intrusion.
Sincerely,
Eldar Rakhimberdiev (Author of FLightR)
Simeon Lisovski (Author of GeoLight)
Eli Bridge (Head Cheerleader)
Workshop on Solar Geolocation at IOC 2018 in Vancouver | Registration is now open!

Solar geolocation with open access tools Registration for 1.5 day workshop at the IOC congress in Vancouver, 19-20 August 2018, is now open! If you are interested in attending the course please visit this signup page to provide your contact information and to answer a few quick questions about your coding background. Original post from Eldar Rakhimberdiev (Author of FLightR), Simeon Lisovski (Author of GeoLight) and Eli Bridge (Head Cheerleader): Posted March 29 Our apologies for the late

2018 Workum, the Netherlands

http://www.waderstudygroup.org/conferences/2018/   Featured image: ©Frank Vassen, Uitkerkse Polders, may 2014.
2018 IWSG Annual Conference | Registration is now open!

2018 Workum, the Netherlands 28 September — 01 October 2018 In 2018 the IWSG Annual Conference welcomes you in Friesland, the Netherlands. The conference will be a part of the Leeuwarden European Capital of Culture 2018 events. Registration to the conference is now open on the conferences page: http://www.waderstudygroup.org/conferences/2018/   Featured image: ©Frank Vassen, Uitkerkse Polders, may 2014.

We are pleased to announce that the Small Grants committee have awarded the 2017 grant. With the consent of the Executive Committee, we decided to award three grants in 2018, since there were many very good projects among the applications, and we hope to raise further awarness of the IWSG SMall Grants. The following were awarded this year: Christoph Himmel: On the migratory flyway in southern Azerbaijan, the group will be counting and colour ringing waders in order to get data on the migration connectivity of different species for the flyway. Satellite transmitters will be fitted to Black-tailed Godwits in order to reveal migration routes, wintering, and breeding areas of Central Asian population. This should help fill knowledge gaps of this population, contributing to the conservation priorities of the single species action plan. [caption id="attachment_10904" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Christoph Himmel regularly shares insights of his birding trips on the blog Birding Azerbaijan http://birdingaze.blogspot.fr. There a "Mixed flock of Kentish-, Ringed Plovers, Collared Pratincole and Little Stints." © C. Himmel, posted in Oct. 2017 on Birding Azerbaijan.[/caption] Ralitsa Georgieva: More than 80% of Albania is mountains, therefore, almost all potential breeding sites for many waders’ species (e.g. Pied Avocet and Kentish Plover) are concentrated along coast of the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Aiming to give better understanding of the condition of breeding waders in Albania and their main treats. This research could be a vital instrument for decision making and conservation actions.   [caption id="attachment_10908" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Ralitsa Georgieva currently works at the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds on a Life+ project to restore and secure Long-term preservation of the Atanasovsko Lake Coastal Lagoon in Bulgaria. Above one of her study sites, the Salinas of Narta - Bulgaria, were Pied Avocet and Kentish Plover breeds, ©Ralitsa Georgieva. Follow Ralitsa on ReasearchGate at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ralitsa_Georgieva4.[/caption] Sriman Delip Kumar Das: Aimiming to explore the unexplored islands and mudflats of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta, recognized as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) by Birdlife International. The objectives are to conduct shorebird survey in unexplored islands and intertidal mudflats, identify roosting and foraging sites, assess the quality of intertidal mudflats and threats to the shorebirds and their habitat. This study is going to explore a part of the wintering population (estimated 50,000) that is yet unknown and has never been counted before.   [caption id="attachment_10906" align="aligncenter" width="330"] The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta was recognized as an IBA as wintering grounds of many globally threatened shorebirds including the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Delip Das was highly involved in the Bangladesh Spoon-billed Sandpiper Conservation Project. He is presently assistant professor at the Department of Zoology of the Jagannath University - Bangladesh. Visit the Delip Das's ResearchGate page at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Delip_Das. Picture: ©Wouter van der Ham.[/caption]   The Small Grant Committee, International Wader Study Group
The 2017 IWSG Small Grants have been awarded!

We are pleased to announce that the Small Grants committee have awarded the 2017 grant. With the consent of the Executive Committee, we decided to award three grants in 2018, since there were many very good projects among the applications, and we hope to raise further awarness of the IWSG SMall Grants. The following were awarded this year: Christoph Himmel: On the migratory flyway in southern Azerbaijan, the group will be counting and colour ringing waders in order to get data on the migration

A couple has just had children. Almost immediately after, Mom’s life returns to normal. Dad cares for the children. Does this grab your attention? In human society, issues of who does what in parenting are alive and well. What if the parents aren’t human? Shorebirds have diverse parenting systems that range from both parents cooperating to one or the other sex taking full responsibility. Thus, for many species in the shorebird world, males caring for the chicks has long been the norm. For example, in most pair-forming sandpipers (socially monogamous Scolopacidae), both parents help when the chicks are very young and then one parent – usually the female – leaves. In Red Knots Calidris canutus, Purple Sandpipers C. maritima and Great Knots C. tenuirostris the female leaves as soon as the eggs hatch. However, a few Red Knot females may be bending the gender roles in a species that generally takes these roles to the extreme. In this issue of Wader Study, Tomkovich and colleagues describe rare cases of female knots attending broods (staying with the kids) for the first time1. Whenever rare or surprising things are found, scientists question a few things: (1) Are the methods strong enough to ensure the rare find is genuine? (2) If so, why haven’t we seen this before? (3) Why is this rare thing happening? The first question then, is how did Tomkovich and colleagues find these parenting-females in a species where males and females look alike and nests are notoriously hard to find because the birds breed over vast swaths of tundra? First, the researchers stuck to well-studied sites. They studied breeding C. c. rogersi knots near Meinypilgyno Village, Chukotka in Far-Eastern Russia and C. c. roselaari knots near Nome, Seward Peninsula in Alaska. [caption id="attachment_10754" align="alignnone" width="700"] Knot on nest at the study site near Nome, Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA (photo:James Johnson).[/caption] The Chukotka site is 10 km2 of coastal dry-plain tundra and the Alaska site comprises 5 smaller locations over 18 km2 of montane dwarf shrub tundra. [caption id="attachment_10753" align="alignnone" width="700"] Knot on nest at the study site near Meinypilgyno Village, Chukotka, Russia (photo: Pavel Tomkovich).[/caption] To find birds, nests and young, the researchers conducted daily surveys during pre-nesting, occasionally during incubation, and every one to three days during brood-rearing. Two to five observers walked in parallel about 100 m apart to cover as large an area as possible. This systematic searching helped the researchers find the birds (and their broods), but how did they know which bird was which and – more importantly for this study – whether the one taking care of the brood was male or female? First, they had to mark the birds. This is one reason to use a well-studied site, where birds are already marked as a matter of course for other studies. The knots were individually marked with a numbered metal ring. In most cases, the birds also had an engraved leg flag or a unique combination of a flag and colour bands so that researchers could recognize them at a distance. To tell who was male and female, the researchers working in Alaska took blood samples when banding the birds and determined the sex using molecular techniques. The researchers working in Chukotka also used molecular sexing techniques in some cases, but they also noting mating behavior, measured cloaca sizes, and even watched birds lay eggs (if it lays an egg it’s a female). The hard work paid off and from 2009 to 2017 the researchers found a total of 62 broods in Chukotka, and 127 broods in Alaska. All broods were attended by a single parent. In four cases, the bird attending the brood was female: one female in Chukotka and two females in Alaska (one who attended broods in two successive years). Importantly, for all cases, molecular sexing from blood samples was used to confirm the sex of the bird. This brings us to the next question: Why haven’t we seen this before? This is the first report of such behavior in Red Knots. Are gender roles changing for these birds? In humans, parenting comes in many varieties: single parents, co-parents living apart, co-parents living together, same-sex parents, gender fluid parents. The variety does seem like a modern thing, though people have likely been coming up with interesting and successful ways to raise kids for a long time. Now though, we are more interested in studying it. As a result, we might be seeing, acknowledging and accepting more variety. Might this be true for birds too? In the paper, the authors list several earlier studies that report no female parenting in Red Knots. However, they note that the incidence of females caring for broods in their own study was very low (only ~2%) and that such rare females might always have been there, undetected. Why? Because males and females look the same, because observing techniques like nest cameras are new, and because molecular sexing is new. Perhaps more and better study is allowing us to see more variety. To really know whether knot behavior is changing, the researchers will have to keep watching. Then they’ll be able to see if this low level of female care stays the same or if it is increasing over time. Finally, we ask why this rare behavior is happening. This study can’t tell us the answer, but the authors discuss several possibilities. The most obvious is that the male deserted the brood or died, forcing the female to stay and raise the kids. This may have been the case for the Chukotka female. The authors report that from 2012–2015, she always paired with the same male and he stayed with the kids. But the year she was found with the chicks, he was not seen at all. Rare cases of females attending broods have also been found in Purple Sandpipers and a removal study on this species has shown that if the male is experimentally removed just before hatching, most female Purple Sandpipers assumed brood care2. So perhaps the females took care of the kids because they had to. Another possibility is that broods were split between the parents shortly after hatching and the male was attending the other chicks elsewhere. But the authors note that this seems unlikely. In the case of the female in Chukotka, she was taking care of a single chick and there were no other broods of the same age found in the area. In Alaska, in one case a female was attending four chicks, not a reduced brood. Whatever their reason for parenting, these rare single moms parented much the same as the common single dads. They were “good” parents: leading chicks to foraging areas, brooding chicks, and displaying strong anti-predatory responses if researchers (or other threats) came too near. Similar findings, that females can parent just as well as males, have also been found in Purple Sandpipers2. In knots, parenting didn’t seem to harm female survival either. All three females attending broods in Alaska and Chukotka were observed the following breeding season. This leads to the question of why female knots don’t parent more often. The authors themselves wonder “why female chick attendance is rare in Red Knots, and other socially monogamous sandpiper species, while they apparently are capable of successfully raising chicks”. Many wonder the same about humans, but the other way around. Single mothers far outnumber single fathers, even in places single fathers are on the rise3. Yet, dads are quite successful at raising children (some male mammals can even lactate4). Of course, there is also the larger question of why such a wide variety of parenting strategies exists at all5. We still don’t know – for shorebirds or humans – so we might as well enjoy the variety.
  1. Tomkovich, P.S., J. A. Johnson, E. Y. Loktionov & L. H. DeCicco. 2018. Brood attendance by female Red Knots. Wader Study 125(1): xx-xx.
  2. Pierce, E.P., L.W. Oring, E. Røska & J.T. Lijfeld. 2010. Why don’t purple sandpipers perform brood care? A removal experiment. Behavioral Ecology 21: 275–283.
  3. Webb, A. 2017. Single parents worldwide: Statistics and trends. Blog post in Spaced Out Scientist 18 Jul 2017 at https://spacedoutscientist.com/2017/07/18/single-parents-worldwide-statistics-and-trends/ with links to original OCED and census data.
  4. Swaminathanm N. 2007. Strange but True: Males Can Lactate. Posted in Scientific American 6 Sep 2007 at https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-males-can-lactate/.
  5. Székely, T., G. H. Thomas, I. C. Cuthill. 2006. Sexual conflict, ecology, and breeding systems in shorebirds. BioScience 56: 801-808.
PDF is available for download here: http://www.waderstudygroup.org/article/10744
Spotlight: Shorebirds bending gender roles

A couple has just had children. Almost immediately after, Mom’s life returns to normal. Dad cares for the children. Does this grab your attention? In human society, issues of who does what in parenting are alive and well. What if the parents aren’t human? Shorebirds have diverse parenting systems that range from both parents cooperating to one or the other sex taking full responsibility. Thus, for many species in the shorebird world, males caring for the chicks has long been the norm. For

After becoming the 170th Contracting Party to the Convention on Wetlands, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea became the 36th Partner of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership on 11 April 2018 and has nominated the Kumya Wetland Reserve and Mundok Migratory Bird Reserve as their first two EAAF Network Sites. In recent years, the DPR Korea has been increasingly active in collaborating with international organizations to identify priority areas for the conservation of migratory waterbirds through survey and monitoring projects along their coastal and inland wetlands. The country has also initiated an inventory of their countries’ wetlands which will yield important information on the biodiversity of those areas and the services that they provide for people. Read the full announcement on EAAF website there :  http://eaaflyway.net Featured image: Rason Migratory Bird Reserve in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, ©RAMSAR.  
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea became the 36th Partner of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership

After becoming the 170th Contracting Party to the Convention on Wetlands, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea became the 36th Partner of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership on 11 April 2018 and has nominated the Kumya Wetland Reserve and Mundok Migratory Bird Reserve as their first two EAAF Network Sites. In recent years, the DPR Korea has been increasingly active in collaborating with international organizations to identify priority areas for the conservation of migratory