The New York Times reported last week that the number of Red Knots stopping at critical refueling grounds on the East Coast of the United States this year was double the number seen last year.
Each year, Red Knots migrate over 9,000 miles during their migration from South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. Along the way, they stop at beaches of the East Coast to feed on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their remaining journey. Legislation protecting horseshoe crabs has probably contributed to the good number of Red Knots found this year. The population of the American subspecies of the Red Knot has been in steep decline; hopefully this year's bounty is a good sign towards recovery! The Red Knot is one of our 378 cute Birdorable birds. We have commemorated the special relationship between the knots and horseshoe crabs with two unique designs. Check them out: Crab-Knot Cycle and Horseshoe Crabs are Life. The small blue blobs making shapes in each design represent horseshoe crab eggs!
Red Knot Gifts
You can learn more about the Red Knot from Cornell's All About Birds website: Red Knot. Hat tip to the ABA Blog for this story.
Here are ten facts about the Eurasian Curlew:
- The Eurasian Curlew is the largest wading bird found in Europe;
- In Scotland it is known as the "Whaup";
- The birds can be found from central and southern Europe and Asia to parts of Africa;
- Curlews are migratory, but are present all year in the milder climate of the British Isles and the adjacent European coasts;
- Within its range the Curlew is most similar to the Whimbrel, but the latter is smaller and has a shorter bill that is less smoothly curved;
- They eat mostly worms, crabs and invertebrates, which they find by touch using their long curved bill to probe soft mud;
- Its name is derived from its 'curloo-oo' call;
- The female is larger and has a longer bill than the male, but the different is not always distinct;
- A group of curlews is called a "curfew", "salon", or "skein" of curlews;
- The species is threatened due to loss and fragmentation of moorland and grassland habitats.
The Eurasian Curlew is the 360th bird species on Birdorable. Check out our Curlew t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Plovers & Shorebirds.
For 19 days we're adding a new Birdorable bird every day as part of our Birdorable Bonanza 2011. We're counting up to revealing our 350th species! Today's bird is the Red Knot.
Red Knot by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region
Red Knots are widespread shorebirds known for their long-distance migration. They breed across tundra habitat in Canada, Europe and Russia; winters are spent along coastal Africa and South America, among others. Red Knots in the Americas are known to rely on horseshoe crab eggs as an important nutrition source during their northward migration. Excessive crab harvesting in recent decades has contributed to the rapid decline of the American Red Knot subspecies, which are currently considered endangered.
Tomorrow's bird is a small migratory bird that in summer has a yellow and black head with a bright orange throat. Can you guess what it will be?
The Black-winged Stilt is a long-legged wading bird. The species is very closely related to the Black-necked Stilt and five other species of stilt.
Black-winged Stilt by Sun Jack
In fact, scientists are in disagreement as to the classification of the five as separate species. Are they all subspecies of the Common Stilt? Or is each species independent of the other? For now, the Black-winged Stilt and the Black-necked Stilt will remain separated here at Birdorable.