By Javier Girón and Abril Heredia
On September 2, 2016 in Ensenada, a Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) with a green band and 1JC code was observed. A month earlier, this same individual was captured and banded, as a juvenile, at a coastal site near Nome, Alaska.
In addition to banding, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists placed a GPS data logger on the bird’s back to collect accurate information about the amount of time this individual spent at each site along its migratory route and the distance of the migration.
Re-sighting this bird indicates migratory connectivity between Alaska and Baja California and also shows that this species flies long distances between the sites upon which its annual cycle depends.
The Red Knot (Calidris canutus roselaari) is a migratory shorebird species that in late summer, after breeding, flies more than 3,000 miles (4,828 km) along the Pacific Flyway to its wintering grounds.
The itinerary of its spring migration is well known; however, little is known about the phenology of its migration, and the length of time spent at each stopover site in the fall.
The current Red Knot population is small (about 20,000 individuals) and in decline, therefore it’s listed as an endangered species and legally protected in Mexico.
Although the causes of population decline are not known, it’s suspected that the degradation of resting and feeding habitats by human disturbance is one of the most likely causes.
Terra Peninsular, in collaboration with CICESE and with the support of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has a shorebird monitoring and conservation project in Bahía Todos Santos.
The objective of this project is to document the areas of the bay that are the most important for shorebirds and measure the impact of human disturbance on shorebird populations, in order to implement conservation actions for these birds and their habitat.
This project will also seek to reduce human pressure on shorebirds by assessing human use patterns in the places where shorebirds rest and feed, and working with coastal area users to develop and test effective strategies to reduce the disturbance.
Because hundreds of Red Knots and thousands of other migratory birds stop over and spend the winter in Bahía Todos Santos, our goal is to have this site designated as important to shorebirds by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN). It’s worth noting that San Quintín Bay was already declared as a WHSRN Site of Importance in 2008.
Shorebird flocks need safe and reliable areas to feed and rest when other feeding sites or mudflats are covered at high tide. Since these places are also popular for recreational activities such as swimming and fishing, it’s important that locals and visitors are aware of these shorebirds and are encourage to respect and conserve their habitat.
Although the causes of the population decline are not known, it’s suspected that the degradation of their resting and feeding habitats by human disturbance is one of the most likely causes.