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Red Knot Band Recovery

January 19, 2012

Remember back in June when I told you about my sad day birding at Reed Lake, when I found all those roadkill shorebirds,  including a banded red knot?

Not this one.  The banded one was so mangled I only knew it was a red knot because its legs looked like this one’s.

I reported the band, and it took quite a long time to hear back from them.  Apparently things were  slowed down as the recovery was flagged in the database.  It turns out that it was the first red knot band recovered in Saskatchewan.  Pretty neat, eh?

Today I got my certificate of appreciation via email:

The knot was banded in October 2010, near Corpus Christi,  Texas.

And being cool and all, I made this map:

I also did some googling, and according to an article in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, a small population of red knots winter in the Corpus Christi area (and some stop there on their way to and from points farther south.)  Some were fitted with geolocators in 2009, and when some of those birds were recaptured when they returned to Texas, the biologists learned that the birds had left Corpus Christi in mid-May and flew for 48 hours straight until they reached the Dakotas and Saskatchewan.  (Perhaps Reed Lake?) After that they moved on to their arctic nesting grounds.   Geolocators measure light levels and that can be used to determine the bird’s location plus or minus about 150 km.   (The burrowing owl project I worked on in 2010 attached geolocators to some of the owls.)

Courtesy of the Corpus-Christi Caller-Times, you can watch a short video of rocket-netting and banding of red knots, and even see the guy in charge of the banding of  my bird, here.  And they also have a photo gallery.

Here’s another longer video showing the knot capture and banding process, also starring Dr. Larry Niles.


I keep on telling people that I am past the stage of wanting to go to grad school, but I also keep thinking that red knots would be a cool species to do a master’s on.   Or perhaps I  I can at least figure out a way to volunteer to help band them next fall in Texas.

If you find a banded bird, report it here.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennie Frances permalink
    January 20, 2012 8:35 am

    Wow, that is neat. Nice to get a certificate. Interesting video too.

  2. Andrew permalink
    April 8, 2012 11:18 pm

    I have a list of bands and tag how do I send data

  3. May 7, 2012 1:26 pm

    Hi Jillian,

    My supervisor and I have worked with Dr. Larry Niles on the Red Knot stuff for a few years now (we are in the videos you linked to). I’m glad to hear that people like you are spreading the word about this interesting species, which will very likely be on the endangered species list soon. If you ever make it down to Corpus Christi, TX around October or late April, let me know. You’d be more than welcome to help us trap. We just finished our spring trapping and were pretty successful. Shoot me an email if you have any questions or anything.

    Also, if you see any banded/flagged shorebirds, specifically Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, Sanderlings, Semi-palmated Sandpipers, or American Oystercatchers, you should report your sightings at as well as the federal site.

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