Conserve Wildlife Blog

Shorebird Stewards on the Bay in May

May 16th, 2023

by: Larissa Smith, Senior Biologist

Every May the Delaware Bay is host to the largest concentration of spawning horseshoe crabs in the world. The shorebirds come to feast on these high-energy eggs, fueling up for their journey north to their breeding grounds. Since the 1990’s the number of horseshoe crabs has been in decline which has led to a decrease in the shorebird population.

There are many different organizations that have been researching these species and trying to protect and help increase the numbers of both the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds. One way to help protect the feeding shorebirds is to restrict access to beaches, May 7th-June 7th, where the birds concentrate in high numbers when feeding. Trained Shorebird Stewards are posted at these restricted access beaches in Cape May and Cumberland counties, to help educate the public and answer questions about the birds and horseshoe crabs. So far this season the horseshoe crabs have been spawning and the shorebirds are slowly trickling onto the beaches. Over the next two weeks the numbers of shorebirds arriving should be increasing. It’s a great time to stop by one of the bay beaches.

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