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A Special Shore Bird is the Subject of New Book By Maine-based Author
05/20/2013   Reported By: Irwin Gratz
Moonbird Book Cover

The shore bird known as the "red knot," makes an 18,000 mile round-trip each year. It goes from winter grounds near the southern tip of South America to breeding grounds north of the Arctic circle. It's believed most red knots only live long enough to make the trip about a handful of times. But one bird, banded back in 1995, has been spotted almost continuously since and has just re-appeared on the shores of Deleware Bay. Maine-based author Phil Hoose wrote about the bird, known by his band number: B-95 in a book entitled "Moonbird."

hoose 002

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ B-95 was first spotted late last week on the Deleware side of the bay according to Hoose.

"B-95 delighted us all by flying over to the Jersey side where he was spotted the next morning at Cook's beach. And he was spotted again last night at another beach 0, Fortescue Beach where I am right now."

Hoose said the population of red knots and other shore birds have been in steep decline due to human intrusion into their habitats. But, he said, with B-95 serving as a "poster boy" for habitat preservation and improvement, some steps have been taken to make sure red knots and other shore birds have safe places to rest, feed, and breed.

His friends were worried. They hadn't seen him all winter and, knowing his advanced age, feared the worst. But those who know the story of the red knot bird banded B-95, are cheering his re-appearance on the shores of the Delaware Bay. You see, the 95 stands for 1995, the year the bird was first banded. He's flown a long way since them. How long?

Maine author Phil Hoose, who's written about red knot B-95, picked for the title of his book, the bird's nickname, Moonbird.

"Their migration flights, which are huge, you know, 9,000 miles from the bottom of South America to their breeding grounds in the Arctic, and 9,000 miles back each year," said Hoose.

Moonbird Cover Which means B-95 has now traveled over 320,000 miles. The average distance to the moon is 240,000. Hoose said those who've seen him in the last few days think B-95 looks to be in good health.

"B-95" isn't much of a name, but he's getting quite a reputation. B-95 is a shore bird known as a "red knot." over the course of a year he migrates some 18-thousand miles on a round trip from wintering grounds near the tip of South America, to summer breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.

Hoose wrote about B-95 after learning the bird was first banded in 1995, meaning he's now flown a distance greater that from the Earth to the Moon.

"He's become this folk hero. There's a statue built to him in Mysterian Harbor, Delaware and another statue being erected at the bottom of his migratory range in Tierra del Fuego, which will be unveiled next December."

Hoose said B-95 has also helped focus attention on the degradation of bird feeding and breeding grounds and how that has shrunk the population of red knots and other shore birds. Hoose said, in recent years, efforts have begun to conserve and improve shore bird habitats.

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