Two years ago, the godwit was elected as the National Bird of the Netherlands. But it does not go well with this primal Dutch migratory bird. In the past 25 years, the population more than halved. 2016 was again a dramatically bad breeding season. 30,000 Dutch godwit couples raised only 4,000 chicks, while 11,000 are needed to keep the species alive. If we are not careful, there is only a handful of godwits left within a number of years.
More knowledge is needed
Theunis Piersma, Professor Migratory Bird Ecology at the University of Groningen, and his research team would like to determine how we can best help the godwit. Piersma and his team have been studying the birds and their international habitats for years - the godwits are wintering in West Africa and migrate every spring to the Netherlands, where as many as 85-90% of all couples nest. Through this research, it is becoming increasingly clear how important changes in the environmental conditions are, mainly due to intensive agriculture, perhaps in conjunction with climate change. In 2014 Piersma has received the prestigious NWO Spinoza Prize for his research.
For some time, it is possible to see what the birds are experiencing and to learn from them by - as it were - flying with them. This is made possible by equipping the godwits with small transmitters powered by very tiny solar panels, that communicate with particular satellites. Such research provides a wealth of information and can help to better protect the habitat of the godwit. Godwits with transmitters can tell us, when they are in the wintering and breeding areas and along the route, what is right and wrong for them, where there is plenty of high protein food, and where conditions are threatening.
With your help, Theunis Piersma can equip more birds with a transmitter, in order to find out how we can best save the godwit. With an amount of € 20,000, he can equip godwits with a transmitter and track their hikes.
May way count on your support?