Red Knots – The Dilemma

I received this request from Audubon begging for money to help the Red Knot. A worthy cause, but it’s equally as important to make the situation more widely known too.


The 20,000-mile migration of the Red Knot — a sandpiper that finds sustenance and shelter in places as diverse as the Jersey Shore, the Arctic Circle, and the Strait of Magellan — is an awe-inspiring demonstration of the interconnectedness of all life.  Equally clear is the devastating impact of climate change, a far-reaching ripple effect that threatens the Red Knot’s very existence.

The Red Knot is struggling to adapt to the challenge of a warming world. As winters in the Arctic have grown shorter, its insects are hatching earlier. But the Red Knot is not adjusting. By the time its chicks hatch, fewer insects are available. Because they can’t eat enough, the birds end up stunted, with smaller bills.

A recent study found that the Siberian-breeding Red Knots arriving in West Africa, the end of their southward migratory journey, have shrunk by 15% over the past 30 years. The smaller juveniles with shorter beaks cannot dig deep enough to eat their regular diet of energy-rich clams. So they turn to seagrass roots and other less nutritious food sources, which are easier to reach. As a result, they are weaker — and much more likely to die.”

Regardless of the hyperbole associated with begging messages, the Red Knot truly has an increasingly tenuous hold on survival. What the message above fails to emphasise though are:

  1. the long-acknowledged crisis of loss of their migration feeding grounds on the eastern seaboard (“east coast” to the rest of the world) of the US at Delaware Bay. This article explains.
  2. The effects of climate change on breeding

Audubon itself comprehensively highlighted the plight of the Red Knot in this article entitled:

Climate-Threatened Birds

Red Knots Are Battling Climate Change—On Both Ends of the Earth

The tiny, threatened bird is an omen for how devastating ocean acidification can be.

You can read the article here

So…why isn’t the whole picture mentioned in more detail in this appeal?

If you want to donate then you can do so here but if not (and I’m not plugging the appeal), then please put the plight of the Red Knot into the public domain. That is equally as important. The more people that know, the better protection the birds will receive.

Video of Red Knots courtesy of

About starrywazzoh

I'm a birder in Western Europe (UK, France & Spain) and Central Asia, with occasional visits elsewhere. Birding is my principal hobby and I dedicate as much time around work and other commitments.
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5 Responses to Red Knots – The Dilemma

  1. leggypeggy says:

    Such a sad state of affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mukul chand says:

    wonderful post

    Liked by 1 person

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