Shorebird Sister Schools Program
Conserving the Nature of America
A Whimbrel Called Hope

Hope was originally captured and fitted with a satellite radio-transmitter by biologists from the Center for Conservation Biology, of the College of William and Mary, on 19 May, 2009 while making a migratory stop- over on the Delmarva Peninsula on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She left Virginia on May 26 and flew to the western shore of James Bay, a southern part of Hudson Bay in Canada. She staged on James Bay for 3 weeks before flying to the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories of Canada near Alaska and then on to the Beaufort Sea of the Arctic Ocean, where she staged for more than 2 weeks before flying again to Hudson Bay. Hope staged on South Hampton Island, in upper Hudson Bay, for 3 weeks before leaving on a non-stop southern flight of more than 3,500 miles (!!!) over the open Atlantic to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea where she spent the winter months. In less than one year, Hope traveled more than 18,000 miles!

Hope's MapHope wintered on St. Croix for nearly 8 months from 14 August 2009, where she was observed foraging on Great Pond, a Birdlife International Important Bird Area, until leaving on the evening of 9 April 2010. She then flew east of Puerto Rico and northwest toward the U.S. East Coast over the open Atlantic Ocean for nearly 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The bird came near land around Cape Lookout, North Carolina and then followed the shoreline around the Outer Banks of North Carolina and up to the lower Delmarva Peninsula making landfall around 3:15 in the afternoon of 11 April 2010. The entire Atlantic trip covered about 1,660 miles (2,678 km) in less than 2 days. Hope settled on the same Virginia marsh where she was captured by CCB biologists in the spring of 2009.

Hope left her Virginia staging area on May 22 2010 and flew the 12-day, 3149 mile journey to the Canada's Mackenzie River Delta arriving on 4 June 2010, having stopped briefly along the coast of Hudson Bay. Hope once again spent the summer in the Mackenzie Delta. She likely incubated eggs while there, and then flew to Southampton Island, Hudson Bay, where she staged last year for the big flight down to her wintering grounds in the Caribbean.

 

Her amazing 2 year odyssey recorded by CCB researchers only confirms how much of the species' life cycle is dependent on specific staging sites and that their migrations are surprisingly structured.

For more information please visit the project website.    

Last updated: December 20, 2013