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.

Roland’s first grand-chick!

Media Release issued on behalf of WWT, RSPB, Birds Russia, Moscow Zoo, BTO, BirdLife International, ArcCona Consulting and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force This little fellow is the first ever spoon-billed sandpiper chick to be hatched in the wild by a hand-reared bird. Spoon-bil
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The monumental tale of the Monument male, ‘Lime 01’

On the 4th September 2014 Chinese birders spotted a leg-flagged Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Rudong, an important staging post for this critically endangered wader. A flurry of emails soon revealed that this tiny bird was in fact Lime 01, also known as the Monument male because his breed
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Spoon-billed sandpiper gets renewed commitment from Leica Camera AG

The Critically Endangered spoon-billed sandpiper has received renewed support from German optics company, Leica Camera AG. The miniature wader is the focus of an intense international conservation bid to save it from extinction, that’s included starting a conservation breeding program
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News from the field

Our indefatigable aviculturist in the field, Roland Digby, has been run off his feet but he’s managed to send a few short emails. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the news he has… ROLAND (29/06/2014 18:13): The 2011 head-started bird (lime green 8), has laid eggs!! W
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The current state of play in Meinypilgyno

Here’s an update from Roland Digby regarding the current state of play in Meinypilgyno. The extensive flooding made for a trying start to the 2014 breeding season. However, it appears that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper population in Meinypilgyno may have stabilised at around 12 pai
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First hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper returns to breed

The first hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper has returned to breed in Chukotka, Russia, where it was hatched two years ago. The spoon-billed sandpiper is unique in the animal kingdom for being born with a spoon-shaped beak. Numbers have declined by a quarter year on year and it is lik
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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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Male adult spoon-billed sandpiper, shortly after arriving at the Meinypilg'yno breeding grounds (c) Roland Digby

PHOTOS: Giving spoon-billed sandpipers a helping hand

Here is a gallery of images from this year’s expedition to headstart spoon-billed sandpipers in Chukotka. Enjoy!
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Young spoon-billed sandpiper (c) Nicky Hiscock

Spoon-billed sandpiper numbers boosted by conservationists

Critically endangered spoon-billed sandpipers fledglings have increased in number by a quarter in 2013, after conservationists intervened to hand rear chicks. As few as 100 breeding pairs remain in the wild, rearing just 60 young between them each year on average. The 16 additional ha
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