The most important bird stop over site on the Pacific Coast outside of Alaska! That's how the American Bird Conservancy described Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Huge flocks of migrating Dunlin and Western Sandpipers, smaller numbers of Short-billed Dowitchers, Red Knots, Semipalmated Plovers, Least Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers and other shorebirds, songbirds, water birds and raptors use this refuge.
Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge and the huge population of shorebirds and their food is threaten by oil development. Any oil spill could contaminate, or kill off part of the food supply to these global migrants. Stopover sites like Grays Harbor are critical for the survival of our migrating shorebirds, some of them will only stop at three or four locations to refuel while migrating. Any degradation of the food supply will dimish their chances of getting to their breeding grounds, surviving the first few weeks on the breeding grounds, or successfully breeding. Shorebird numbers are already declining - why would we want that trend to continue by making survival harder for them?
Here's a way to take action to protect the Grays Harbor Shorebirds or learn more about this issue. (This takes you to a National Audubon site, sponsored by the Washington State Audubon as well.)
Shorebirds are my favorite family of birds, and Grays Harbor is where I go to photograph them. It just doesn't make any sense to me that we would put an oil transfer station next to one of the world's most important and vital stopover sites for migrating shorebirds.