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Sandpipers Return To Johnson’s Mills

Aug 8, 2022 | 2:14 PM

Joshua J. Cotten / Unsplash

Thousands of Sandpipers will once again migrate down south, but not without a New Brunswick layover first.

Around 25,000 shorebirds have arrived at Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre near Dorchester, N.B., since July 14.

Jordan Miles, assistant manager of the Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre, said the birds begin their journeys in the Canadian Arctic, where they breed.

“They stop at Johnson’s Mills to feed on the mudflats — we have an abundance of Corophium or mud shrimp — and they’ll stay for about three weeks, doubling their weight before they head south on a 72-hour nonstop flight to South America,” said Miles during a phone interview.

Miles said it is hard to estimate how many Sandpipers the centre could see this year, but numbers peaked at around 35,000 birds in the middle of August 2021. The centre is hoping for around the same number this year.

She adds the public is more than welcome to watch what she calls a beautiful display in person.

“You can see 10s of thousands of shorebirds feeding on the mudflats and even performing incredible aerial displays called a murmuration,” said Miles, adding that the sight attracts tourists from across Canada and beyond.

“And you can hear them on a day where it’s not very windy. You can hear them land, you can hear them take off and it’s a beautiful peeping sound.”

Miles said the best time to see the shorebirds is from two hours before to two hours after high tide. During that time of day, she said the centre asks people to stay off the beach to allow the birds a chance to rest.

You can find more information on viewing the shorebirds on the centre’s website here.

With files from Tara Clow.


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