As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Horseshoe Crab Harvests Driving Red Knot 'Moonbirds' to Extinction (Op-Ed)

Elly Pepper is a legislative advocate for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). This Op-Ed is adapted from a post on the NRDC blog Switchboard. Pepper contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Boom! At the sound of the cannon, we rose frantically from our hiding places and started sprinting toward the water's edge where we had set our net hours before. Just days ago, I had arrived in Canada's Mingan Archipelago National Park to collect information on red knots — a shorebird that boasts spectacular cinnamon-colored plumage during breeding season. As I approached the bird-netting mayhem, I realized I would finally get my chance to see these little flying machines up close.

Referred to poetically as "moonbirds" because some of them fly the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back during their lifetime, these birds are some tough cookies. Each year, they travel approximately 18,000 miles on their 20-inch wingspan — from South America's southern tip to their Arctic breeding grounds in the spring, and then back in the fall — one of the longest migrations of any animal.

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