“Migration Numbers Plunge for the Red Knot, a Threatened Shore Bird”

“Every May, these birds stop in the Delaware Bay on their way to Arctic Canada. But a shortage of food this season puts their flight at risk.”

“A sudden drop in the number of red knots visiting the beaches of Delaware Bay during migration this spring has renewed concern among scientists about the survival of the threatened shore bird’s Atlantic Coast population.

According to biologists, the number of knots that stayed to feed at the bay in May declined by about 80 percent from the same time last year. The Delaware Bay is one of the world’s most important sites for shorebird migration.

By the end of the month, only about 6,100 had been counted on the bay shores of New Jersey and Delaware, the lowest number in the almost quarter-century since the count began. The number was down sharply from 30,800 in 2019 and 32,900 in 2018, said Larry Niles, a wildlife biologist who leads the count.”

Jon Hurdle reports for the New York Times June 11, 2020.