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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.

Courtship in Chukotka and Slimbridge

Roland Digby has been in Chukotka, at the spoon-billed sandpipers’ breeding ground for the last two summers, hatching and hand-rearing chicks in what is known as “headstarting”. It helps stabilise the declining spoon-billed sandpiper population and he’s back there for a third time thi
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First birds arrive late to breeding grounds

Roland Digby has again joined the annual expedition to Chukotka to ‘headstart’ a new generation of spoon-billed sandpiper fledglings on the breeding grounds. He has sent his first report: The large amount of winter snow and late spring meant the spoon-billed sandpipers arrived late th
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New hope for spoon-billed sandpipers as hand-reared bird heads for breeding grounds

Happy World Migratory Bird Day! As mentioned previously on this blog, the first hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper has been spotted migrating back towards Chukotka, Russia where it was hatched. It is one of nine chicks reared by hand by Roland Digby in 2012 at the breeding ground in n
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Ken Tucker – helping prepare for breeding season

In August 2010, I took a trip to China especially to see Spoon-billed Sandpiper. I was lucky and saw about eight birds – some still in summer plumage. I felt sad when I reluctantly walked away from the last bird. I can still see it now: a mostly winter-plumaged bird bathing vigorously
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Spoon-billed sandpipers in the new communal area at WWT Slimbridge (c) Ken Tucker

Spring is on the way- for wild and captive Spoonies!

Dr Nigel Clark from the BTO came to visit the spoon-billed sandpiper breeding facility on Tuesday to check on the birds. He writes… Monday was a red letter day for the project with spoonie ‘Lime 8’ being seen in Taiwan on spring passage back to the breeding grounds.
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Starting 2014 on a high – Dr Nigel Clark

Dr Nigel Clark is Head of Projects at the BTO and Coordinator of the UK Spoon-billed Sandpiper Support Group. As a key advisor to the Spoon-billed Sandpiper conservation breeding programme he visited the Slimbridge flock earlier this week. He writes: Trying to save Spoon-billed Sandpi
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Slimbridge spoonies successfully migrate 30 centimetres… to ‘China’!

The captive spoon-billed sandpiper flock at Slimbridge last week made the first stage of their ‘journey’ towards breeding successfully. Months of preparation have gone into creating open air aviaries for the birds, which will mimic their summer breeding grounds, as well as being divis
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Spoon-billed sandpiper still boldly going: hand-reared bird from Russia seen in Thailand

A spoon-billed sandpiper was snapped last week by birdwatcher Peter Ericsson on wetlands at Pak Thale in Thailand and identified as bird ‘AA’, which was hand-reared and released in Chukotka, Russia last summer as part of the effort to save the species from extinction. The spoon-billed
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