Conserve Wildlife Blog

2022 Upland Sandpiper Survey Results

January 17th, 2023

by Meaghan Lyon, Wildlife Biologist

The results are in! It wasn’t a great year for upland sandpipers at the McGuire Airfield. Numbers of breeding pairs at this location have decreased to an estimated two pairs. Numbers can be variable from year to year so there is still hope for better news in 2023.

Upland sandpipers typically require a minimum of 100 acres for breeding habitat and so large expanses of open, grassy land is a high priority. Over the past five years, long term efforts have been ongoing to complete a large-scale grassland restoration at the McGuire Airfield. So far, roughly 500 acres have been converted to native warm season grasses with another 100 acres to be completed by next spring. Our goal is to help create and maintain grassland bird nesting habitat for Upland sandpipers and other species.

While restoration efforts are done in early spring and late fall, CWF partners with the USFWS New Jersey Field office to conduct auditory point count surveys during the breeding season. The vast grassland habitat, doubling as an airfield, is also home to the state threatened grasshopper sparrow, Savannah sparrow, and bobolink, as well as the eastern meadowlark, a species of concern.

We have a long dataset for these surveys, spanning all the way back to 2012. This valuable data helps us identify trends in the population. Surveys will continue for the 2023 breeding season.

Upland sandpiper nest located at McGuire Airfield, May 2019.

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One Response to “2022 Upland Sandpiper Survey Results”

  1. Barb McKee says:

    Thank you for this important work! Restoring open grasslands is a great project for this large, airfield area. Before 9/11 one could drive through. It is now closed to the public but open to grassland loving birds! Great job!

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