RED KNOT BIRDS MIGRATION DOUGLAS GRITZMACHER
Smithsonian Magazine assigned me to photograph red knot birds in the Delaware Bay as well as the scientists who study them. Red knots fly quite a distance—they go from South America to the Artic and stop just once to refuel. That place is the Delaware Bay. Why? Horseshoe crabs.
Each May horseshoe crabs leave the deeper confines of the ocean for the shore where they spawn and deposit eggs in the sand of Delaware Bay. The eggs are tiny and resemble tropical Skittles. You can see them in the sand if you look close enough.
Red knots happen to have a major penchant for the taste of horseshoe crab eggs. So, in mid-May, after flying thousands of miles, the red knots drop out of the sky en masse to feast on the tasty eggs and re-fatten their scrawny bodies. After two weeks of eating nothing but eggs, they depart to complete their journey north, bellies full.
Red knot birds and horseshoe crabs.
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