Ever see a red knot in action?

Tagged red knot. Mispillion Harbor, Delaware. Credit: Gregory Breese/USFWS

Our videographers Keith Shannon and Beth Decker took a road trip from our Hadley, Mass., office down to the Delaware Bay to catch these amazing shorebirds in action.

Red knots are ruddy-breasted shorebirds just about the size of a robin. On wingspans of 20 inches, red knots fly more than 9,300 miles from south to north every spring and repeat the trip in reverse every autumn. When they make their last major stop at Delaware Bay, they must nearly double their weight to make the last leg to the Arctic. One bird, called B95 after his leg band number, has been nicknamed the Moonbird, as researchers figure his 20 or more years of migrations would have taken him to the moon and at least halfway back.

Scientists in countries across the shorebird’s range share concern for the red knot and expect the species to be particularly affected by global climate change, which will be greatest at the latitudes where it breeds and winters.

It’s more important than ever to know understand this species, which is why our biologists are studying the birds to figure out exactly where they go when they leave the U.S. Hear how they do it in this post by biologists Stephanie Koch and Susi vonOettingen, “Linking red knots from Monomoy to Cuba and beyond.” Furl, smear, jiggle, twinkle and fire. It’s all in a day of red knot banding.

Read two recent news stories on the red knot, from The Washington Post and McClatchy Newspapers.

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