Patricia Gonzales & B95

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Argentine shorebird biologist Patricia Gonzales

From Phillip Hoose on Delaware Bay:

This is Argentine shorebird biologist Patricia Gonzales, minutes after having spotted once again the apparently bionic Red Knot whose leg bears an orange band inscribed B95. He migrates back and forth to his breeding grounds nearly 20,000 miles each year.

His lifetime frequent flyer mileage greatly exceeds the distance between the earth and the moon. Hence his nickname–and the title of my book about him, Moonbird. I’ve never quite been able to spot him, though Patricia, who has an amazing connection with him, has held him in her hands and seen him many times.

Moonbird Spotted in Delaware!

B95 Spotted May 2014

B95 Spotted May 2014

Two photos of B95 taken yesterday by Patricia Gonzalez and Allan Baker at Reeds Beach, NJ. B95 is now at least 21 years old, and has flown enough miles to go to the moon and most of the way back. He has already been declared a Natural Ambassador of the city of Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina where he was banded so long ago.

The Moonbird is an inspiration to all!!! —Charles Duncan,  Shorebird Recovery Project

B95 Spotted May 2014

B95 Spotted May 2014

My major weapon is a good narrative

Phillip Hoose Talks MOONBIRD at Indiana School

Phillip Hoose Talks MOONBIRD at Indiana School

Thank you to David Snodgress of the Herald-Times for writing about Moonbird and Phillip Hoose’s to Summit Elementary in Indiana.

“Students got to know B95, a small bird that has flown the distance it takes to get to the moon and halfway back, when author and Indiana University graduate Phillip Hoose came by Summit Elementary. To tell third-, fourth- and fifth-graders about B95, Hoose shared pictures of the red knot, a shore bird with a speckled back that travels more than 9,000 miles from its breeding grounds in the Arctic to South America each year. He played his guitar, leading students in sing-a-longs, and the crowd of almost 200 students “awww-ed” at the sight of photos of baby red knots, with their fuzzy white feathers and tiny beaks.

When Hoose asked for questions, their hands shot up into the air. They wanted to know if the baby bird’s mother and father help it learn to fly and how the red knots are able to fly such long distances. They also asked how Hoose got his ideas to write a book like “Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95” and what his other books were about. Talking with youngsters gives Hoose a chance to spread awareness about the reduced populations of animals like red knots.

“My major weapon is a good narrative,” the author said. The nonfiction story of B95 doesn’t only describe the life of one bird, but it also “portrays the worldwide crisis in species loss.” During his presentation, Hoose referred to young people who were working to protect red knots, and he said, “we could use some letters,” because writing messages to legislators might help the long-distance fliers become recognized as an endangered species.

Hoose has been going from school to school talking to kids for about 30 years. “I love kids,” he said. “I want them to know that a writing life is available and there are real people who do this.”

Erika Peek, a fifth-grade teacher at Summit, had a similar idea when she invited Hoose to speak. “It’s inspiring to see someone doing something that they love,” Peek said. As a teacher, she hopes students will grow up into people who can make their passions their livelihood. “It was nice for the kids to meet a speaker with Bloomington ties,” she noted. She hoped it helped the students realize that authors could be among their next-door neighbors.

After Hoose’s presentation, Peek’s students settled into their desks to write poetry or read his books. Leading up to the author’s visit, they had been working in all of their classes on projects related to writing or the subjects of Hoose’s nonfiction, and they will continue to do so after his visit. Peek intends to tailor her upcoming lessons to the students’ interests by exploring areas they were curious about through research activities.

“The speaker may be gone, but we can find other ways to answer their questions,” she said.”

Save the Red Knot! Sign the Petition!

B95 (Photo by Christophe Buidin)

B95 (Photo by Christophe Buidin)

If you have read the book Moonbird by Phillip Hoose, you know that one individual bird has had incredible staying power while his species is under great threat.  You can help the Red Knot.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to protect the Red Knot rufa under the Endangered Species Act. Doing so would not only benefit the Red Knot, but other shorebirds since many other species have similar long migrations and are declining due to habitat pressures. But in order for The FWS to follow through on this recommendation to turn into a real listing your help is needed.

WILL YOU SIGN THE PETITION?

Thanks to the Friends of the Red Knot for initiating this petition.

B95 Spotted in Rio Grande

B95 in Dec'13 (Photo by Allan Baker)

B95 in Dec’13 (Photo by Allan Baker)

Patricia M. González of the Global Flyway Network in South America sent author Phillip Hoose this astounding news about B95…

“This afternoon Allan Baker, Luis Benegas and myself saw B95 in the shores of Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego.  It was a great surprise as last year we did not see him in the area. Allan managed to get few pictures when the bird went ahead from the flock of about 110 knots. It was a nice luck as we don’t have many pictures of B95 in basic plumage. The flag is fading but still is possible to recognize the bird because the color band combination with a black band in the right lower leg (from 1995) and an newer orange band in the lower left leg (from a retrap in Rio Grande).

This was a great news for Rio Grande city as you probably know B95 was declared natural ambassador of this city and they will build a monument with his story.”

 

List Red Knot as a Threatened Species?

Moonbird Photo by Jan van de Kam

Moonbird Photo by Jan van de Kam

Readers of Phillip Hoose’s bird biography, Moonbird: A Year of the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 will cheer to hear that the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the red knot as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Read the release below and note the address for public comment.  You can make a difference for B95 and his descendents!

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List Red Knot as a Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act

Declining food supply and habitat are seen as threats for a remarkable shorebird that migrates thousands of miles each year
 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a proposal to list the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a robin-sized shorebird that annually migrates from the Canadian Arctic to southern Argentina, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.  The proposed rule will be available for 60 days of public comment.
 
“The rufa red knot is an extraordinary bird that each year migrates thousands of miles from the Arctic to the tip of South America and back, but – like many shorebirds – it is vulnerable to climate and other environmental changes,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “In some areas, knot populations have declined by about 75 percent since the 1980s, with the steepest declines happening after 2000. We look forward to hearing from the public with any new scientific information as we consider the proposal.”
 
After an exhaustive scientific review of the species and its habitat, Service biologists determined that the knot meets the definition of threatened, meaning it is likely to become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The knot, whose range includes 25 countries and 40 U.S. states, uses spring and fall stopover areas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Changing climate conditions are already affecting the bird’s food supply, the timing of its migration and its breeding habitat in the Arctic. The shorebird also is losing areas along its range due to sea level rise, shoreline projects, and development.
 
A primary factor in the recent decline of the species was reduced food supplies in Delaware Bay due to commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs. In 2012, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted a management framework that explicitly ties horseshoe crab harvest levels along the Atlantic Coast to knot recovery targets. The Service’s analysis shows that although the horseshoe crab population has not yet fully rebounded, the framework should ensure no further threat to the knot from the crab harvest.
 
International, state and local governments, the conservation community, beachgoers and land managers are helping ensure knots have safe areas to winter, rest and feed before or along their journey to the Arctic. These partners assist knots in a variety of ways, including managing disturbance in key habitats, improving management of hunting outside the U.S. and collecting data to better understand the knot.
 
In many cases, the knot’s U.S. coastal range overlaps with those of loggerhead sea turtles and piping plovers, as well as other shorebirds. Conservation actions underway to benefit those species’ coastal habitats will also benefit knots.
 
The bird is one of the longest-distance migrants in the animal kingdom. With wingspans of 20 inches, some knots fly more than 9,300 miles from south to north every spring and repeat the trip in reverse every autumn. While migrating between wintering grounds at the southern tip of South America in Tierra del Fuego and breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, the shorebird can be found in groups of a few individuals to thousands along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
 
Studies in Delaware Bay show knots nearly double their weight at this last major spring stop to make the final leg to the Arctic. One bird, called B95 from his leg flag, has been nicknamed the Moonbird, as researchers estimate his 20 or more years of migrations are the equivalent of a trip to the moon and at least halfway back.
 
Other knot populations winter in the southeast U.S., northwest Gulf of Mexico and northern Brazil. New information shows some knots use interior migration flyways through the South, Midwest and Great Lakes. Small numbers (typically fewer than 10) can be found during migration in almost every inland state over which the knot flies between its wintering and breeding areas. Other subspecies of red knot, including C.c. roselaari that migrates along the Pacific Coast to breed in Alaska and Wrangel Island, Russia, are not included in this proposal on the rufa red knot.

As required by the Endangered Species Act, the Service plans to publish a separate proposed rule identifying critical habitat for the red knot before the end of 2013 and expects to make a final decision on both rules in 2014.
 
The proposed rule, in response to a court-ordered deadline, is available for public comment through November 29, 2013. The agency requests a variety of information on the knot, from population trends to genetics and distribution.
 
Comments may be submitted through the following methods:
· Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting information on docket number FWS–R5–ES–2013–0097.
·U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2013–0097; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, Virginia 22203.