This is new to me. What a fascinating bird. Promoted from the diaries — Juan
Maybe you have heard of the Red Knot and thought so what, or not thought of it at all. Why should you care? Well, it is an amazing species, a migrating wonder. It is a medium-sized bird, about the same as a Robin, but manages to fly from Brazil to the Delaware Bay each spring. There are no stops, just open water. Weak birds just disappear into the ocean.
They time their arrival at Delaware Bay with the egg-laying of the horseshoe crab. The Red Knots and several other species of shorebirds load up on these eggs, which wash ashore by the millions. They double their body weight in just 2 weeks, then it is on to their Canadian tundra breeding grounds, another direct flight. If they are short on fuel, they die. There is no place to stop and feed.
So the crab eggs are a crucial fuel, and Red Knots have relied on them for thousands of years. Now, they have competition from humans in the form of commercial fishermen, who also like to use horseshoe crabs as eel bait. The crabs have been severely over-harvested and an egg shortage has left the Red Knots without their primary migration food source. The number of Red Knots has dropped 57% in just 2 years and the species is in danger of extinction.
NJ has crab harvesting moratorium legislation pending (A2260). Please take 2 minutes and fill out this form to contact your Assembly person.