Theunis has been fostering my devotion to waders for more than three decades.  For the past decade or so, in my role at the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) leading BirdLife International’s Global Flyway policy work, it has been a pleasure to help use the Global Flyway Network’s work to deliver conservation action of benefit to the birds, especially in the Yellow Sea.

My conservation objectives include:

  • To help save the Yellow Sea for Spoon-billed Sandpiper (current priority for the RSPB and BirdLife) and other migratory waterbirds (such as Red Knot, an old favourite of mine since doing an undergraduate thesis on their feeding ecology on spring migration in arctic Norway), including through World Heritage nomination.
  • To help conserve coastal wetlands along the East Atlantic Flyway, especially through support to the Bijagós Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau via the Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative.
  • To support the development and implementation of intergovernmental species action plans e.g. under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA), for species such as Eurasian Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit.

YSea-get-together-2013-09-29 16.13.44[3]
Nicola Crockford, Theunis Piersma (left) and David Melville (middle) deeply involved in Yellow Sea protection plans (IWSG meeting 2013 Wilhelmshaven, Germany)
My recent publications

Three have been published in early 2017 in Bird Conservation International.  Two are on Slender-billed Curlew given my role as the Chair of the Slender-billed Working Group:

  • Volunteer survey effort for high-profile species can benefit conservation of non-focal species DOI
  • The potential breeding range of Slender-billed Curlew Numenius tenuirostris identified from stable-isotope analysis: DOI

The third is a result of an International Wader Study Group workshop, inspired by our failure to prove the existence of Slender-billed Curlew despite an extensive search of the non-breeding areas and the wish to prevent any more of the Numeniini tribe from following Slender-billed and Eskimo Curlew to the brink of extinction:

  • A global threats overview for Numeniini populations: synthesising expert knowledge for a group of declining migratory birds: DOI

An additional product of that workshop are Conservation Statements for Numeniini Species (all 13 species and 38 populations).