Is it food shortage and drier springs that cause the decline of the shorebird community?

Gunnar Gunnarsson, Rebecca Hessel, Richard Ottvall

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The shorebird community has decreased dramatically along the lower parts of the ‘Helge å’ river in "Kristianstads Vattenrike" in recent years. Causes are not clear, but a number of possible factors have been suggested. This report presents studies carried out in 2012, and aimed to investigate two of these factors, i.e. (1) food abundance (i.e. invertebrates) with possible links to the summer flooding in 2007, and (2) if there is any support in weather and hydrological data that springs have become drier.

Food abundance was generally high on the meadows. However, in wetlands (wet pools, "Helge å", "Hammarsjön") there were differences between study sites, with more abundant prey downstream in the "Helge å" river system as contrasted to upstream sites. This may be a consequence of the summer flooding in 2007.

There were no clear signs that springs have become direr from 1990 to 2012, as judged by weather and hydrological data. One could possibly argue that most springs in the early 1990s and in the last 10 years were drier than what is normal as opposed to wetter springs in the late 1990s. Still, with the data at hand it is not possible to make any accurate conclusions about long-term trends and how such have affected the habitats and the breeding success of shorebirds.

To prevent the shorebird community from further declines, and instead turn the population trends to become positive, drastic and immediate actions must be implemented. These must focus on reducing the (1) grazing pressure of meadows, (2) predation pressure on eggs and chicks of waders, and (3) dehydration of wet pools.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKristianstad
PublisherBiosfärkontoret Kristianstads vattenrike
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameVattenriket i fokus
ISSN (Print)1653-9338

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Zoology (10608)


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