The VWSG has one overarching project that encompasses all the activities the group conducts. This is
A long term comprehensive study of waders and terns in southeast Australia
VWSG activities are primarily capture-based, usually by cannon-netting but also using other standard methods like mist netting (wetland waders like Latham’s Snipe) and capture by hand at breeding colonies (species like Crested and Caspian Tern). Three main groups of birds that have been a core part of the VWSG catching program over the past 40 years:
Historically the VWSG has been a group that has caught a wide range of species, banded, measured biometrics and marked them. Over time, the focus for catching has changed to reflect where knowledge gaps still exist, and the changing priorities of conservation issues relating to migratory shorebirds in our flyway.
The two main drivers of VWSG research have been to understand migratory routes and stopover sites, and understanding population dynamics. A great deal has been learned about migration routes through the VWSG program, but there is still much to learn. There has been an increasing emphasis on understanding population dynamics in more recent times, in particular on collection of data enabling an understanding of population changes and what contributes to them (e.g. recruitment, adult survival or both?).