CRBO

Red Knots - a shorebird species in steep decline.


Red Knots are shorebirds that have recently experienced a steep population decline. This decline is due in large part to the overharvesting of Horseshoe Crabs in the New Jersey and Delaware areas. Red Knots depend on the nesting congregations of Horseshoe crabs to provide a feast of crab eggs during a critical part of the Red Knots' migration. The birds arrive from South America with low fat reserves and without the bounty of crab eggs in spring, the birds are much less able to arrive on the breeding grounds in good health.

In order to better understand the migrating and wintering patterns of Red Knots, biologists have captured small numbers of Red Knots and fastened numbered tags to their legs. Researchers are eagerly seeking information and photographic evidence regarding the resightings of these birds.

Based on resighting information to date, it seems that a portion of the Red Knot population is wintering along the southeast U.S. coast, rather than traveling all the way to South America. It is not completely known whether this is a recent development or whether a portion of the population has always done this.

Starting in September 2006, CRBO and our volunteers have undertaken coordinated efforts to find and document flagged Red Knots in fall and winter along the SC coast.

If you would like to help with this project, and have digiscoping or photographic equipment capable of documenting shorebird color bands and 'flags', we would value your assistance.

At the request of Amanda Dey and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife:
In addition to Red Knots, starting in Fall 2007, we are asking project participants to document any 'flagged' Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderlings. These shorebirds are also starting to show a steep decline that may be similar to Red Knot's dire population drop.

Below are a few photos of 'flagged' Red Knots (in winter plumage) found last year by CRBO personnel in coastal SC.



Banded and 'flagged' Red Knot - Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina (Huntington Beach State Park).
November 25, 2006

It has been determined that this bird was banded on Delaware Bay, on August 25, 2005 at Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

Photographs by Nathan Dias.

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Another banded and 'flagged' Red Knot - Murrell's Inlet, South Carolina (Huntington Beach State Park).
November 25, 2006


Bill Pitts of the Endangered & Nongame Species Program, NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife reports that this bird "is not one of the Delaware Bay banding schemes; it appears that this bird has lost one or more bands. It seems most likely that it was banded in 2002."

Photos by Nathan Dias.

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Another banded and 'flagged' Red Knot - north Folly Beach, South Carolina .
December 28, 2006


It has been determined that this bird was banded on August 25, 2005 at Stone Harbor, New Jersey

Photos by William Flack.

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Another banded and 'flagged' Red Knot - North Folly Beach, South Carolina (Lighthouse Inlet).
November 20, 2006


It has been determined that this bird was banded on Delaware Bay on May 25 2006 at Stone Harbor New Jersey.

Photo by Chris Snook.

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Here is the same bird!
It was re-found during the 2007 SC Piping Plover Census on February 11, 2007 at Sandy Point, the eastern tip of Kiawah Island, SC.

Photo by Nathan Dias.

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