About a month ago, on one of our trips whilst hiking the beach on Little Tybee, we came across this rather gruesome discovery. A pair of legs, no less was all that remained of something's lunch time snack. Or was it something far more sinister? Foul play possibly? The legs were banded and printed with a phone number, so upon getting home we called it in. Just this week we received some information on the legs' owner.
They belonged to a Red Knot, born in 2002 and banded in Stone Harbour, New Jersey.
The Red Knot is the largest of the "peeps" in North America, and one of the most colorful. It makes one of the longest yearly migrations of any bird, traveling 15,000 km (9,300 mi) from its Arctic breeding grounds in the north to Tierra del Fuego in southern South America. But not this one.
In fact the Red Knot is on the verge of extinction.
Delaware Bay is an important staging area during spring migration, where the knots feed on the eggs of spawning horseshoe crabs. It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of the entire population of the Red Knot subspecies C. c. rufa can be present on the bay in a single day. The reduction in food available to the knots because of the heavy harvesting of horseshoe crabs may be responsible for a decline in Red Knot populations. For more information about this great little peeper click here .
More body part identification coming soon!