May 20, 2013 |
A rare shorebird that has defied all the odds was spotted yet again last week on Delaware Bay. He's a small thing - no bigger than a robin, weighing only as much as a stick of butter. But he has one of the longest migrations on the planet. And a lot of renown. Scientists refer to him as B95, after the number on his leg band. But his fans, which apparently are legion, call him the Moonbird because in his lifetime, researchers figure, he has flown the equivalent of the distance to the moon and at least halfway back.
February 20, 2013
NEW JERSEY state Sen. Jeff Van Drew wants a 5-year-old ban on harvesting horseshoe crabs lifted. Here are the main arguments over the ban: Pro-ban * The Atlantic red knot, a shorebird recently added to the endangered-species list, depends on horseshoe-crab eggs as a vital food source, a resource that activists say would be depleted should the ban be lifted. * Tens of thousands of bird-watchers routinely flock to the Jersey Shore in early May to watch red-knot migration.
February 20, 2013 |
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. - The horseshoe crab was weird long before it had a name, a survivor whose 10 eyes have seen dinosaurs, mass extinctions and mankind's march up the food chain. For humans, these living fossils have proved profitable. First, it was discovered that horseshoe crabs made good bait for catching conch and eel, and later a lucrative use was found for their lifesaving blood. Now the South Jersey shores of the Delaware Bay have become a battleground for a fight over the ancient creature, involving fishermen, environmentalists, politicians, scientists and bird lovers.
August 6, 2012 |
Moonbird A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 By Phillip Hoose Farrar Straus Giroux. 160 pp. $21.99 It was Feb. 20, 1995. The bird-banding team had caught so many birds that they ran out of the usual colored bands. Someone found black plastic in one of the trucks, and they fitted strips of it around the legs of the final birds, including one very special bird - a small shorebird that probably has become one of the most iconic birds known.
June 5, 2012 |
At long last, there's reason to celebrate on the beaches of Delaware Bay. Shorebird scientists, who for a decade have feared they were watching an extinction in progress, saw things go right this year for a small shorebird called the red knot. For starters, the weather and the water stayed calm. So horseshoe crabs swarmed onto the beaches to spawn, leaving a banquet of fat-rich eggs in the sand. So the birds ate their fill, gaining strength to complete their 10,000-mile migration from the tip of South America to their nesting grounds in the Canadian Arctic.
February 24, 2012 |
The red knot, a small shorebird whose 10,000-mile migration brings it to Delaware Bay each spring, has been designated an endangered species in New Jersey, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday. Wildlife officials said that the new status, a change from threatened, did not add protections. However, it is formal recognition that despite years of efforts to help the bird, its numbers continue to decline. The red knot population on the bay is about 15,000, down from nearly 100,000 two decades ago. The change was one of several revisions and additions adopted by the DEP. Put on the endangered list were two other birds - the black rail and golden-winged warbler - as well as the gray petaltail, which is a species of dragonfly, and Indiana bat. Six dragonfly species and three birds - the American kestrel, cattle egret, and horned lark - were added to the state's threatened list.
January 7, 2012
New Jersey has received a $1 million federal grant to protect ecologically sensitive wetlands in Cape May County that are home to many species of migratory birds. The state Environmental Protection Department will use the money to buy five parcels totaling 140 acres in Middle Township. They will be added to the 17,000-acre Cape May Wetlands Wildlife Management Area. That site includes land between the Garden State Parkway and the barrier islands. The area provides habitat for one of the most significant concentrations of migratory birds in the world, including the red knot, nesting water birds, water fowl, and rare plants and animals.
July 13, 2011
Finally, wildlife advocates say, a small shorebird is getting the attention it desperately needs. The Fish and Wildlife Service is moving to list the red knot as an endangered species, a process that likely will take until 2013, a spokesman for the agency said. The red knot has one of the longest migrations on the planet. Each spring, it stops for refueling at the Delaware Bay, where horseshoe crabs are just then coming ashore to lay their fat-rich eggs, a vital food for the bird.
March 7, 2011 |
In the awkward and contentious dance that wildlife advocates, fishing interests, and regulators are engaged in over the intertwined lives of the horseshoe crab and a tiny shorebird, New Jersey has taken the latest step. It has proposed to change the status of the bird, the red knot, from threatened to endangered. As a practical matter, this accomplishes little, adding no new protection measures. But state officials and others say it is nevertheless important as a formal recognition that despite years of efforts to help the bird, which stops at Delaware Bay every May to refuel, its numbers continue to decline.
October 11, 2010 |
The tiny tracking device on the small shorebird's leg weighed about as much as two squares of toilet paper. But inside - all in extreme miniature - were a clock, a microprocessor, a memory, and a battery. And it gave scientists their first intimate view of a yearlong journey that had their jaws dropping. The bird, called a red knot, a mere handful of feathers weighing little more than a stick of butter, flew 16,600 miles round-trip, from the tip of South America to the Arctic and back - likely the longest migration on the planet, researchers said.