The Upper Bay of Fundy is one of the most important places in the world for the fall migration of Sandpipers and other shorebirds. The area’s biologically rich mud flats and natural shoreline are critical to the success of this fall migration.
Increased development and human activity along the Fundy coast threatens the future of many of the world’s shorebirds. Human activities can disturb shorebirds and the habitat. Loss or disturbance of key mud flats and coastline can interfere with the ability of shorebirds to feed and rest, making it difficult for them to reach their wintering areas in South America. Habitat loss occurring any time of the year can threaten the health of shorebirds.
If visiting a beach where migratory shorebirds may be present, observe land use practices that support the conservation of shorebirds and their habitat. Simply put, it is best to avoid closely approaching any site where shorebirds may be feeding or resting.
The following is a set of guidelines were developed for coastal residents in Nova Scotia. Most, if not all, of the suggestions are appropriate for any site that has migratory shorebirds.
Stewardship Practices for the Migration Period
At high tide, shorebirds seek suitable sections of shoreline to rest (roost). Land based disturbances can interfere with the ability of shorebirds to roost property during their migratory period (July through October, peaking in August). By observing the following land use practices when migratory shorebirds are present in the Minas Basin, one can minimise disturbance to roosting birds.
- Schedule shoreline activities for months outside of the migration period when possible.
- Complete shoreline improvements and maintenance activities, such as lawn cutting and construction, during the periods of low tide, when feeding shorebirds tend to be in offshore mud flats.
- At sites where birds are known to frequent, avoid the beach area during periods of high tide, the time when shorebirds are most likely to be present.
- Leash (or restrain) dogs and other pets at all times while they are on or near the beachfront if shorebirds are present.
- Direct recreational activities, such as hiking, swimming & boating, away from areas known to be used by shorebirds.
- Notify visitors and other beach users of the presence of shorebirds and encourage them to observe appropriate practices.
Stewardship Practices for Year Round
All plans for beach and near shore development should consider any potential long term effects to the habitat of shorebirds and other wildlife. The following practices support shorebird conservation throughout the year.
- Maintain a natural section of shrubs, unmowed grass & other vegetation by the shoreline.
- Consult with your local Dept. of Environment when planning construction of boat launches, walkways, or other permanent beachfront structures.
In Nova Scotia, local citizens and visitors to the region are encouraged to record their shorebird observations and report their findings to the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. The Evangeline Beach interpretive facility at North Grand Pré, Nova Scotia operates during the summer from June through September. The short film ‘Stewards of Evangeline Beach (~15 min.) highlights how the community of North Grand Pré is conserving shorebirds. You can view this film by clicking here. Local visitors can view ‘Stewards of Evangeline Beach’ free of charge throughout the summer at the Canteen in North Grand Pré .