Shorebird Monitoring

A variety of shorebirds, including avocets, oystercatchers, phalaropes, plovers, sandpipers, stilts, snipes, and turnstones, use the local coastline of Coastal Southern California national parks to breed and forage at a small number of food-rich “stepping stone” sites along their migratory cycle. Hunting in the late 1800s likely caused the declines in many species of shorebirds. Today, shorebirds in Southern California are subject to loss of habitat through development, chronic disturbance from beachgoers and dogs, “coastal engineering” projects, climate change, and overfishing of their food resources. Oil spills could also have severe consequences for shorebirds that migrate through or winter in the area.

At Cabrillo National Monument and Channel Islands National Park, shorebird surveys have been conducted in conjunction with long-term rocky intertidal monitoring and sandy beaches and lagoon monitoring to assess changes and trends within these ecosystems.

  • At Cabrillo, shorebirds were monitored in relations to visitor use of the rocky intertidal area. Data has shown that there is a negative relationship between the visitors use and the number of birds in a particular zone.