|Family: Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
This plump, medium-sized sandpiper occurs on all continents except Antarctica and migrates exceptionally long distances, from High Arctic nesting areas to wintering spots in southern South America, Africa, and Australia. Red Knots of the subspecies rufa, from eastern North America, have declined sharply in recent decades owing in part to unsustainable harvest of horseshoe crab eggs. That formerly extremely abundant food source gives the birds the energy for the last arduous leg of migration to the tundra and also the boost females need to start producing eggs quickly during the short nesting season.
Although Red Knot migration follows the coasts, a few show up in Duluth during spring and fall migration. In late August 2022, a couple of immatures showed up on Park Point and stuck around for several days.
The oldest known Red Knot was was banded in 1999 in Delaware, and recaptured and re-released there in 2016 when it was at least 18 years, 11 months old. I didn’t get a photo but saw that bird during my Big Year in 2013.
Laura's Published Works
- Anything Can Happen 2022
- Alaska, Part 3: Birding the Nome-Teller Road 2022
- Horrible News on the Bird Front 2021
- My Big Year So Far, Part II: The Joys and Frustrations of Birding All Over 2013
- Birding at Ding Darling 2013
- August 2007 Migration Update 2007
- Horseshoe Crabs 2002
- Burrowing Owl 1997
- Ode to the Lakewood Pumping Station 1987
- Robins 1987