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A Long Way From Home

May 30, 2014

NC Museum of Natural Sciences Education Blog

by Julia Jacobs

People are not the only visitors to the Delaware Bay area for the horseshoe crab spawning season. Many other animals and birds are attracted by the eggs as well. One of these bird visitors, called the Red Knot, makes a pit stop on its long journey from one of the poles to the other. Red Knots travel 9,300 miles from Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of Argentina, to the Northern Arctic Circle. During their migration they lose close to 2/3 of their body weight and must stop to refuel. The eggs laid by the horseshoe crabs create a royal feast for the birds.

Group of Red Knots. Group of Red Knots. Photo by Julia Jacobs

My recent drive up to Delaware was not nearly as long as the Red Knot’s journey. I can attest that the birders were well outnumbered by the birds at each of the beaches I visited…

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