Shorebird Research at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center

Fact Sheet 2020-3056
By: , and 



Shorebirds—which include sandpipers, plovers, and oystercatchers—are perhaps best known by their presence on sandy beaches, running along the water’s edge while they probe for food. But they are probably less recognized for their impressive long-distance migrations. Millions of individuals travel from across the globe to breed throughout Alaska each spring, making these birds a familiar and important part of local wildlife communities and Alaska Native cultures. Unfortunately, many shorebird populations have steeply declined worldwide. Because shorebirds use the same coastal habitats as humans, anthropogenic development can lead to habitat loss that degrades the extent and quality of coastal sites important to these species. However, Alaska has an abundance of intact coastal ecosystems that provide important breeding and migratory stopover sites for shorebirds, making the State one of the world’s most critical sites for shorebirds. The focus of shorebird research at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center is to help identify important breeding and migratory sites, and to investigate the causes of the declines in many shorebird populations.

Suggested Citation

Ruthrauff, D.R., Tibbitts, T.L., and Pearce, J.M., 2020, Shorebird research at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2020-3056, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Shorebirds in Decline
  • Shorebirds on the Wing—Global Citizens
  • Shorebirds in a Changing World
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Shorebird research at the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2020-3056
DOI 10.3133/fs20203056
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 4 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details