Headstarting is a collaborative effort between WWT, BirdsRussia and the RSPB, and occurs as part of the International Arctic Expedition mounted each year by BirdsRussia under the leadership of Dr. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy.

And then there were 17! 11 July 2011

11th July 2011

Well what an eventful few days. boarded the ship with the eight newly hatched chicks, 12 eggs, considerable anxiety about the trip on rough seas and a great deal of hope. We got off the other end with only three eggs, but an amazing 17 chicks, so we were as happy as happy can be.

Nigel encouraging feeding, photo by Martin Mcgill

Things have gone as well as could possibly have been hoped for so far, but saving this species is still going to be an uphill battle. A couple of the hatchlings aren’t as strong as the others and we will have to accept that we will lose some.

Newly hatched spoon-billed sandpiper, photo by Martin McGill

The survival rate for spoon-billed sandpiper chicks in the wild is extremely low. On average just four chicks fledge out of around 20 eggs laid and only one of these would survive to recruit into the adult population two years later. Taking these newly hatched chicks from hatching to fledging will be enough of a challenge on its own. However, even this is dwarfed by the work that we and our partners need to do to tackle the threats to the species in the wild.

  1. Phil Agland Reply

    Well done, what brilliant news. Fingers crossed for the next phase…

  2. terrytownshend Reply

    Fantastic news..! I have everything crossed that the next stage goes as well. The blog really is gripping reading, so thank you for taking the time to do it. It will help to publicise the plight of this charismatic wader and hopefully encourage those with some influence to begin to set in motion the policies needed to help tackle the threats to this species in the wild.

  3. john bryant Reply

    Keep the good work going, its fascinating to read the blog.

  4. Mark Andrews Reply



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