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North Dakota-bound long-billed curlews tracked by researchers



Bismarck, North Dakota – Mike Anderson updates long-billed curlews fitted with GPS and satellite transmitters in May 2022 in southeastern North Dakota on North Dakota Outdoors this week.

Due to population reduction, North Dakota prioritizes long-billed curlew conservation. It’s crucial to track and record their migration movements.

“We were able to deploy five different transmitters on individual, adult, long-billed curlews and track movement south for the winter,” said Jay Carlisle of the Intermountain Bird Conservatory.

Last summer, researchers tracked big shorebirds south from North Dakota using GPS and satellite technology.

“Two wintered either side of the border in Texas and Mexico, and then two others went to the interior of Mexico and Durango, and they stayed for a while and then they both moved,” added Carlisle.

Carlisle learned that Kansas is a significant migration stopover. More surprises awaited these birds in North Dakota in spring 2023.

They returned to last year’s field. They need that landscape intact. “If that field’s grass is too long, there’s some grass just a few hundred yards to the east that’s the right height and provides the right resources for them,” said North Dakota Game and Fish conservation biologist Sandy Johnson.

Private landowners are needed to study long-billed curlews in North Dakota.

“It’s great working with a lot of North Dakota landowners that are really proud stewards of the land and interested and really curious about what they have on their land and what the birds might be doing on their land and even when they leave,” said Kevin Ellison of the American Bird Conservatory.

The long-billed curlew study relies on North Dakota Game and Fish.

We finance the researchers to tag the birds from the nongame Watchable Wildlife Tax Checkoff finance. “Donors fund it,” Johnson remarked.

Researchers will observe these birds and collect data to regulate their populations.

Southwest North Dakota long-billed curlews received six extra transmitters in 2023.