Flight pattern: A late arrival for shorebirds in New Brunswick
JOHNSON'S MILLS, N.B. -- Every summer thousands of shorebirds stopover in Johnson's Mills, N.B. on their way south. However, spotting the birds isn't a sure thing this year.
The Nature Conversancy of Canada expects thousands will arrive by mid-July, but the organization says their behavior has been a little unpredictable this year, as only a small amount has arrived so far.
The site's manager, Jasmine Anderson says Johnson's Mills is a critical stopping place for the shorebirds on their migration. As the tide rolls in, the sandpipers huddle together on the beaches, drawing in tourists and locals eager to catch a glimpse of the small birds.
"Our expectations of when they'll arrive has been changing just because … probably the weather changing in the Arctic or different food sources. I'm not sure what has caused their behaviour to change, but something definitely is," says Anderson.
"They also come here to fuel for their migration down south, so they spend about two to three weeks here, and during that time period, they double their weight basically."
Once they grow to about the size of a large strawberry, they leave the beach, flying 72 hours straight to South America.
Though the building is still closed due to the pandemic, the Nature Conservancy is trying its best to protect the land for the shorebird's arrival.
"The signs kind of let people know that the shorebirds need our help, so they remind people to stay off the beach two hours before and two hours after high tide and that is because the birds can't swim, so they use that time to sleep and rest on the beach," says Anderson.
Though the shores may be quiet now, thousands of birds are expected to migrate within the next few weeks.