The Caribbean Waterbird Census commences on Friday, January 14th and runs until Thursday, February 3rd, 2022. This period includes World Wetlands Day (February 2), which this year has the theme: Wetlands Action for People and Nature. During that time, you are encouraged to venture out to seashores, beaches, and wetlands to count as many waterbirds as possible. Count all the birds you see!

Why is the Caribbean Waterbird Census important?

The Caribbean is home to 185 species of waterbirds (which include seabirds, wading birds, shorebirds, and waterfowl) – many of which are migratory. This varied and critical group of birds also includes many endemic species and a number that are endangered globally. The Caribbean Waterbird Census is a valuable tool that aids in assessing how these remarkable birds are doing. They breed, rest, and feed in habitats that are themselves facing a range of threats, including development, pollution, human activities, and climate change impacts.

Now, which sandpiper is that? Is that a Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs? How can I identify a mixed group of birds?

BirdsCaribbean offers free online resources that help with identifying those tricky little sandpipers and plovers in their winter plumage, as they patrol our shorelines or fly in groups over the water. Before you start, download the ID Guide to Common Caribbean Shorebirds and store for easy reference. Also, take a look at the accompanying shorebird poster and other resources on this page.

It might also be worth your while to take in our two webinars on waterbird ID, which you can find on our YouTube pages (please subscribe, like and share!). Part I covers herons, egrets, ducks, marsh birds, and seabirds. Part II covers those fun and challenging shorebirds!  You will also find a “how to participate” video guide there and detailed instructions here. For some more background information, you might enjoy our overview of the past ten years of the CWC, presented at last year’s Symposium at the North American Ornithological Congress (NAOC) online meeting.