Spoon-billed Sandpiper numbers have crashed in the past decade, and now there are believed to be only about 120-200 breeding pairs left. This Critically Endangered species nests on the Chukotka peninsula about as far east in Siberia as you can get and faces challenges all along the route it takes to its wintering grounds in countries like Burma and Bangladesh. Climate change may have affected nesting sites, humans have destroyed the tidal areas it depends upon as fuelling stops, and in the winter it has been indiscriminately netted, along with other waders, for food.
Efforts to save the “Spoony” include Birdlife International’s partner organization in Burma (BANCA) doing work on finding alternative ways to make a living for Burmese bird trappers. In addition, since 2011 hatchling Spoon-billed Sandpipers have been taken from Russia (by The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and IUCN) to Slimbridge in the UK to form a captive breeding population. Desperate measures, but the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is in a desperate situation. This photo is of one of only four or five individuals seen at Mai Po Nature Reserve this year.