The California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation (Foundation) is now running its own habitat program through our new habitat delivery tool. The successful execution of this program is a significant benchmark for the Foundation which has been constantly increasing its activities since its inception in 2015. Unlike previous habitat programs that the Foundation helped fund, we are now utilizing our habitat delivery tool, Bid4Birds, to create critical shorebird habitat with funding from our generous donors.
The Bid4Birds habitat delivery tool is designed to turn farmers’ fields into temporary habitat for shorebirds and other waterbirds. In 2020 we focused our efforts on creating shallow flooded shorebird habitat in the spring and fall migration seasons. Creating this habitat has real costs for the farmer and so the Foundation utilizes Bid4Birds to select the most cost-effective projects and provide incentive payments to help offset those costs for farmers interested in providing this quality habitat.
A Summary of the Contracts
This year the Foundation deployed 13 Bid4Birds contracts encompassing nearly 2,700 acres spread out across 30 rice fields in the Sacramento Valley. These contracts created valuable shoulder season habitat for migratory shorebirds.
During spring we enrolled over 1,500 acres into our program but we were unable to regularly monitor birds across all of the project sites; nevertheless, we documented 45 different species of birds utilizing the enrolled fields. The most common shorebird species observed were White-faced Ibis, Dunlin, Greater Yellowlegs, and Long-billed Curlews.
In the fall we enrolled just over 1,000 acres into our program thanks to a significant contribution from The Nature Conservancy and, unlike in the spring, we were able to conduct bird monitoring on all of the enrolled sites. This was made possible by a significant effort from our partners at The Nature Conservancy and Point Blue Conservation Science. Together we counted nearly 30,000 birds and documented 35 different species on our enrolled fields. The most common shorebird species observed were Dowitchers, White-faced Ibis, and Least Sandpipers.
Habitat Programs Breakdown
The following table outlines each of the Bid4Birds contracts including their size, the duration of the habitat provided, and the county in which they were located.
Total 2020 Bid4Birds Program Acreage: 2,659