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Adult Red Knot, in full breeding/alternate plumage, walking on the beach along the Delaware Bay :
Adult Red KnotAdult Red Knot in breeding plumage - Cooks Beach, Cape May, New Jersey - for more detailed view and EXIF data, please click on the image -
Each spring during the high tides of the new and full moons, thousands of horseshoe crabs descend on the Delaware Bay shoreline to spawn. Migrating shorebirds, with endangered Red Knots included, take advantage and feed on high in fat crab's eggs. This stop is very important to migrating shorebirds to refute before making the final leg of the journey to the northern breeding grounds. One of the best places to see this phenomenon is Cooks Beach in Cape May, New Jersey.
Interesting facts via CornellLab:
- The Red Knot does not regurgitate undigested hard parts of prey, as do many species of birds. Instead it excretes the hard parts in the feces. Researchers have used fecal content to examine food consumption rates.
- Red Knots concentrate in huge numbers at traditional staging grounds during migration. Delaware Bay is an important staging area during spring migration, where the knots feed on the eggs of spawning horseshoe crabs. It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of the entire population of the Red Knot subspecies C. c. rufa can be present on the bay in a single day. The reduction in food available to the knots because of the heavy harvesting of horseshoe crabs may be responsible for a decline in Red Knot populations.
- The oldest recorded Red Knot was at least 15 years, 11 months old. It was banded in 1986 in New Jersey and recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Delaware in 2001. - I believe that just this year, 2017, researchers recaptured the Red Knot that is 16/17 years old!
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