The Red Knot, a robin-sized shorebird, nests in the arctic on Southampton Island. They winter in Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Argentina. The Knots make this trip of 15,000 kilometres twice yearly.


These little birds fly as much as 8000 km non-stop but usually their long trip takes a few days. Each stage of these marathons can reduce their body weight by half. They survive only by refueling at rich food sources along the way. In two weeks of feeding, they can double their body weights. Truly fast food. The first fuel depot on the way south is in the Mingan archipelago on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One banded Red Knot has flown at least 500,000 km in 17+ years offering some perspective to you short-flight snowbirds.


Semi-palmated Sandpipers use a similar migratory strategy with a major refueling stop on the Bay of Fundy on their way to Surinam. (See chapter on the Bay of Fundy in “Special Places in Canada” at )


Without these fast food stops, several long-distance migrant birds could not link food-dense arctic nesting areas with survivable over-wintering habitats in South America to sustain their populations.

Semi-pal sandpipers complete carpet of birds Fundy SHARPER 100dpi 11X

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