Wednesday, June 22, 2016


On our trip to the Delaware Bay, I took lots of pictures of the big bunches of birds at Fortescue. When I got home and enlarged the photos on my computer, I was surprised to see some of the migratory birds were banded, in particular, some Red Knots. And in a couple cases, you could even read the numbers!

Here's the overall picture of the group of migratory birds. If you click on each picture you will seen the enlarged view.
When you zoom in, here's what you see!
I did a little research online and found where I could report the band number, or "flag" as this type of band is called. It's the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory, part of the U.S. Geological Survey. So I reported.

I was really excited to find that the orange flag means the bird was banded in Argentina! And then I got this email:

Dear Denise,
Thanks so much for your valuable red knot sighting! this bird was banded as an adult at Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina,on  8/Dec/2009  with the metal band 9822-04914 and the last sighting we have in Argentina was on 13 April 2015 at San Antonio Oeste, Rio Negro.
Happy to know is heading to the Arctic!
Patricia M. González
-South American Shorebird Coordinator
International Conservation Fund of Canada & Coord. Programa Humedales

Banded in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. What a thrill!

Amazing how far these birds migrate. Here's the migration map, with the Delaware Bay an important stop on the northward journey for the abundance of Horseshoe Crab eggs.

The second Red Knot I reported had a green flag:

Turns out this sweet bird is a Rufa Red Knot, listed as "threatened" by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife service. It was banded in Delaware in 2015, and I received a lovely certificate of appreciation for reporting it.

I reported a third banded Red Knot, but couldn't read any numbers. I'm not sure if it was flagged and I just didn't have the right angle, or if it was a different type of band. But the orange tells me this one was also banded in Argentina.

So that's my exciting story about the banded birds we saw on the Delaware Bay.

Awesome, right?

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