I and the Bird

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Red Knot News

I found this article about more habitat in Delaware that has been reserved for Red Knots. A one-mile stretch of coastline at Mispillion Harbor (near Mispillion Lighthouse - the spot I probably should have looked for Red Knots when I was in Delaware) has been purchased by The Conservation Fund and handed over to Delaware's Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Outstanding. When I attended the shorebird migration along Port Mahon Road I was surprised at how little protection there was for the birds there. There was nothing stopping fishermen or anyone from getting close to or intentionally running off the birds, not that they would. All the protection that these birds can get, especially when the horseshoe spawn happens on such a small area, is crucial to keeping Knots, and other species, around.

The only problem is, though - and this is something that the article does not mention - is that protecting Red Knots in Delaware is not nearly enough. The trend of the Red Knot to congregate in small, dense groups is not limited to migration but also occurs in their South American wintering ranges. This fact leaves them open to habitat degradation in both summer and winter spots and also makes them an easy target for hunters. North American Red Knot hunting hasn't been popular since the early 1900's, but it still occurs in South America (especially the Guianas, according to this Audubon WatchList page).

I missed the Red Knot this year in Delaware. Hopefully this recent action taken by the Conservation Fund will help ensure that next year I'll have another chance.
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Location: Portland, ME

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