Red Knots banded by biologists in Washington

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By Abril Heredia


During the week of May 7th to 14th of 2017, an exchange of North American biologists was conducted to study the migratory shorebirds of the Pacific Migratory Corridor. The meeting was held in Grays Harbor, located in the state of Washington, U.S.A., with the purpose of banding Red Knots (Calidris canutus roselaari).

Visiting biologists from Mexico and Alaska joined the work group led by biologists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

The fieldwork for monitoring, trapping and banding migratory birds was carried out in the northern part of the Grays Harbor estuary, an area designated as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) Site of Hemispheric Importance.

In this site, thousands of shorebirds congregated to feed and rest throughout their migration towards boreal or Arctic breeding sites. Thus, the landscape filled with calls and large flocks flying, mainly of Dunlins (Calidris alpina), Short-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus griseus) and Red Knots.

The task of capturing, banding and marking individuals with colored tags (whose codes can be identified at a distance by observers) was accomplished to gain a better understanding of the movements of the Red Knot.  In addition, several of these birds carry transmitters to be tracked via satellite by the USFWS of Alaska.


As a sign of the connectivity between the sites that form the Pacific Flyway, Red Knots were spotted and recaptured, which had been banded in Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, another WHSRN site of Hemispheric Importance, and the most significant for red knots in Mexico.

The commitment and enthusiasm with which this experience was carried out will allow to continue the exchange of ideas and perspectives on the situation the red knot faces, as well as the way in which different organizations and institutions can collaborate to achieve better conservation schemes for the benefit of the species and their habitats.

In Mexico, the Red Knot is considered an endangered species and, therefore, its conservation is a priority. A large proportion of this species spends the winter in Mexico and its spring migration occurs along the Pacific coast of Mexico and the U.S.A.

It is worth mentioning that this collaboration was fulfilled thanks to the funds granted by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) through the project “Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) – the Americas’ Flyway Action Plan.”