Meet the red knot, a colourful sandpiper covered with feathers of terracotta orange, gold and black. Aside from their looks, the most notable thing about this species is their incredible migration journey, covering up to 15,000 kilometers as they fly from their nesting areas in Baffin Island, Nunavut, North Hudson Bay or the central Arctic to overwinter as far south as Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost point of South America. Sadly, these amazing birds are far less common than they used to be, and are listed as Endangered in Canada.
A Chilly Start
A red knot starts its life in the Arctic. Females lay their eggs in nests they build on sunny slopes, trying to keep things as toasty as possible. Both male and female birds incubate their eggs for about three weeks until they hatch. Then it’s time for flying lessons! Once the chicks can fly, the family moves to lake shores and meadows to eat—and eat a lot. Mussels, clams, shrimp and horseshoe crab eggs are all favourites.
Time for Takeoff
Once they’re all fueled up, the red knot will head out on its epic migration journey to South America. There it will spend its winters, and once the time is right it will head back to the North to breed. In order to complete this journey, red knots make a stop in Bahía de San Antonio, a beach in Argentina. Here they refuel, rest, and moult before they set out on an 8,000 km nonstop flight back to North America.
Unfortunately, this important stopover site is becoming more and more developed, and increased traffic from holiday visitors and motorists has caused fewer red knots to stop there. With fewer red knots stopping in Bahía de San Antonio, fewer make it back to Canada, which makes it so important that we do our part to protect all the important sites along the journey of a migratory bird.
Help After a Long Flight
Earth Rangers has teamed up with International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC), Argentinean researcher Patricia Gonzalez and her Fundación Inalafquen, and the Provincial Environmental Rangers to protect the red knot’s stopover habitat at Bahía de San Antonio. This project also aims to protect the impressive Patagonian sea lion, who also uses this beach as a place to eat rest, and have it’s babies. By adopting a red knot or sea lion, you can help protect this crucial area and reduce the impact humans are having.
Learn how you can adopt these species and many others by downloading the Earth Rangers App today!
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