It's almost time for the arrival of spawning horseshoe crabs and hungry migrating shorebirds on Delaware Bay Beaches. You can help make sure that meeting is as trouble-free as possible by volunteering to be a Shorebird Steward.
During the month of May, shorebirds make an incredible trek from South America to the Canadian Arctic with one critical stop – the Delaware Bay. Shorebirds, including the federally-listed endangered red knot, will spend just a few short weeks feasting on horseshoe crab eggs that will give them enough energy to continue their migration.
When the shorebirds arrive to the Delaware Bay, they are vulnerable to a wide range of threats including habitat loss, changing climates, and human disturbance. It is imperative that the birds spend the limited amount of time they have to feed on horseshoe crab eggs and meet the weight threshold that will sustain their journey to the Arctic breeding grounds. Providing this information to the public about how important these beaches and horseshoe crab eggs are to their survival and the Delaware Bay ecosystem as a whole, is a primary goal of the stewardship program.
These remote beaches are not only loved by wildlife, but humans too. Human presence and activity on these beaches can scare the birds, causing them to flee and spend less time foraging and gaining weight. From May 7 to June 7, several beaches along the New Jersey side of the Delaware Bay have restricted access during the day to allow for birds to forage with minimal disturbance from humans. Shorebird stewards are stationed at each beach and volunteer their time to educate the public on the migratory shorebirds and the incredible journey they make every year and the significance of restricted access.
Stewards are needed throughout the May across several beaches in Cumberland and Cape May counties. Interested in becoming a Shorebird Steward? Please reach out to Habitat Restoration Coordinator, Quinn Whitesall at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.