Red Knots & Semipalmated Sandpipers

James Bay

Ontario, Canada

The aim at this project site was to establish a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Site of Hemispheric Importance along the southern James Bay coast within the declared homelands of the Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN).

For 75 years, naturalists have been aware of the significance of the southern James Bay coastline for migrating shorebirds. During fall migration, this area supports from five to over 20 percent of the populations of several shorebird species, including the endangered rufa Red Knot.

Local partners

Through this project, local partners brought key MCFN and adjacent First Nations together with federal government and WHSRN staff to initiate WHSRN nomination planning for the site. One requirement for the WHSRN nomination is endorsement by the “site owner,” in this case the MCFN. A key milestone toward WHSRN designation was the MCFN Band Council Resolution (BCR) in support of establishing the WHSRN site. Nomination papers and the BCR were submitted to the WHSRN Hemispheric Council in April 2017.

Education and outreach

Shorebird conservation education and outreach material for the Moose Cree and other First Nations along the coast were also created, including the comic book “A Year in the Life of a Red Knot,” the short video “Great Travellers in the Homelands of the James Bay Cree,” and the infographic “The rufa Red Knot – A Great Traveller of the Americas.” Lastly, two MCFN site representatives traveled to Delaware Bay, United States, for one week in May 2017, to participate in a bird-banding event where trained volunteers caught, measured, tagged, banded and released shorebirds. The data collected will serve to inform shorebird conservation actions.