Friends of the Red Knot

News and Events

How Our Club Began
Red Knot Facts
News and Events
Write Letters to Save The Red Knot
Thank You To:
Contact Us

February 2011 - Mike Appears on Baltimore Radio Program

On Monday, February 21, 2011, Mike Hudson of Friends of the Red Knot, was a guest on  WYPR, a Baltimore public radio show station. The program, Midday, hosted by Dan Rodricks, featured information about bird conservation and youth birding, in celebration of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Mike was one of the guests, invited to talk about his experiences trying to save the Red Knot, and his adventures as a youth birder. To listen to the podcast of the show, follow the link below.

May 22, 2010 - FoRK Participates in Peace, Love and Horseshoe Crabs at the DuPont Nature Center
Friends of the Red Knot members, Mike, Emily and Gail Hudson, volunteered at the 3rd Anniversary celebration of the DuPont Nature Center. Peace, Love and Horseshoe Crabs highlighted the work done at the nature center to educate visitors about the connections between horseshoe crabs and shorebirds. Emily encouraged visitors to symbolically "adopt" horseshoe crabs. Gail worked with members of the Shorebird Project to teach kids about using bands to track shorebirds on their yearly migrations. Mike mannned the binoculars and spotting scopes to help visitors see and photograph the birds and horseshoe crabs who showed up in force for the celebration.

May 15, 2010 - Mike Participates in World Series of Birding

It was midnight in Cape May, New Jersey. A team of six dedicated birders, among them Friends of the Red Knot member Mike Hudson, set out to compete in the biggest birding competition in the world. For the next 22 hours the team would travel the length and breadth of Cape May county, covering habitats from southern-type swamps and dense northern broadleaf forest to open saltmarshes and windswept beaches, trying to find as many birds as possible.

By the end of the competition the team had seen or heard 150 bird species, finishing 4th in the Cape May County division. They finished just one bird behind the 3rd-ranked team. Mike's team donated the money that they had raised during the event to the Delaware Bird-a-Thon. The Bird-a-Thon used the money raised by the World Series team and from another birding competition in Delaware to purchase land on the Delaware Bay that the red knot and other shorebirds stop on to feed. This land is then given to wildlife refuges to manage and protect. Mike raised $500 dollars by himself to be donated to the Bird-a-Thon.


May 8th and 9th, 2010 - Mother's Day at the Zoo
Once again, faithful FoRK members spent Mother's Day weekend at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, with their educational display about shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. In a strange twist of fate, Migratory Bird weekend and Mother's Day share the second weekend of May. This is fortunate for FoRK, because Mother's Day brings many families to the zoo, where ForK members can teach them about the connections between migratory shorebirds and horseshoe crabs. This year, Mike, Emily and Gail were joined by Mica and Maria. In addition to highlighting the information on our display and asking visitors to sign our postcards to Secretary Salazar, the FoRK volunteers handed out activity sheets to the kids who visited their display. Thanks to zoo staffmembers Peter and Colline for providing coffee to the chilly FoRK mom!


May 2009 - Friends of the Red Knot Have a Successful Bird-A-Thon Day


On May 9th at 8:00 am, four kids jumped out of a minivan ready to get moving after the 2 hour drive to Delaware. Friends of the Red Knot's Bird-A-Thon team had woken up at 5:30 am in order to get from Baltimore to Delaware on time. Mike Hudson, Maria Trovato, Mica Sellers, Emily Hudson, and selfless (at least on Bird-A-Thons) adult chaperone Gail Hudson were ready to move. After a brief reunion with their guides for the day- Delmarva Ornithological Society members Bill Stewart, Derek Stoner and Judy Montgomery- it was time get to work. In the Delaware Bird-A-Thon, people make pledges to a team or individual, either per-species identified or as a flat amount. The team then finds as many bird species as possible within 24 hours in the state of Delaware.


Sites we visited over the next 12 hours included Milford Neck Wildlife Area, Big Stone Beach, The DuPont Nature Center, Prime Hook, and Abbott's Mill Nature Center. Among our many birding highlights were cedar waxwings, bald eagles, a peregrine falcon, black-necked stilts, black skimmers, and, of course, red knots and other shorebirds. We also took the time to rescue some horseshoe crabs that were stuck in the mud, and to remove a snake from the road.


We finished the day at Abbott's Mill, with Emily, Maria and Derek calling in some barred owls for a close look. We had tallied 118 different species of birds, and raised $1274.00 in pledges.


A few weeks later Mike, Emily, and Mica returned to Delaware for the annual Bird-A-Thon Picnic. After a good meal and very productive conversation, it was time the awards ceremony. Bill Stewart, the DOS Conservation Chair announced “For the most funds raised and most species identified in the youth division, with 118 species identified and $1, 274.00 raised for conservation, the winner is the Friends of the Red Knot team!” We received cool t-shirts and other gifts, along with a gift certificate to Wild Birds Unlimited. It was a very successful Bird-A-Thon!                       



Many Thanks For A Generous Donation


Friends of the Red Knot would like to thank Jean Gadziola for her very generous donation in honor of her friend, Mary Jo. Thanks to Jean and Mary Jo, Friends of the Red Knot will be able to fund our postcard and letter-writing campaigns. Mary Jo, who is described as “passionate about birds, nature and young children”, was impressed when she heard Mike Hudson speak about the work of Friends of the Red Knot. Jean decided that a donation to Friends of the Red Knot in honor of Mary Jo would be an appropriate way to recognize her friend, who has shown her great kindness and compassion. Friends of the Red Knot is extremely grateful to both of these women for their support of our efforts to save the Red Knot.



March 2009 - Maryland Changes Horseshoe Crab Harvesting Regulations
On March 18th, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources responded to environmentalists requests to increase restrictions on horseshoe crab harvesting. Unfortunately, they did not ban horseshoe crab harvesting or lower the state's quota. Instead, they imposed a ratio of 2 males crabs for every female crab taken. Though this should decrease the number of female crabs harvested from Maryland waters this year, it falls far short of the harvesting ban that is needed to provide enough horseshoe crab eggs for feeding shorebirds. We need to continue our efforts to get horseshoe crab harvesting banned in Maryland and Delaware, as it is in New Jersey.

December 2008 - Red Knot Moves Higher on ESA Candidate List
On December 10, 2008, the Red Knot rufa's priority number on the Endangered Species Candidate List was changed from 6 to 3. This gives the Red Knot rufa the highest possible listing priority number for a subspecies. Reasons given for the change in listing priority number are the continuing decline in the number of Red Knots counted at their wintering grounds and the fact that female horseshoe crab spawning activity has not increased between 1999 and 2007, despite the imposition of addtional horseshoe crab harvesting regulations. Changing the listing priority number to 3 for the Red Knot rufa is justified because the threats to the Red Knot are "currently occuring, and therefore imminent". Though this is good news for the Red Knot, it doesn't guarantee that the Red Knot will be listed soon. Species with a listing priority number of 2 or 1 will be listed ahead of the Red Knot. So we must continue to petition the Department of the Interior to list the Red Knot as endangered before it is too late.

Friends of the Red Knot Bird-A-Thon team

May 2008 - Friends of the Red Knot Team Identifies 102 Birds and Wins Bird-A-Thon Award
The Friends of the Red Knot participated in the Delaware Bird-A-Thon on May 11, 2008. Five FoRK kids and their adult sponsors joined members of the Delmarva Ornithological Society (DOS) for a series of birdwalks in various habitats in central Delaware. One excursion began at 4:30 AM, and allowed the team to see some nocturnal birds, such as a Chucks Will Widow! Other habitats explored included forest, marshland and shores. Some Red Knots were spotted near the DuPont Nature Center! A rare treat was the sighting of a Wood Sandpiper, which is more likely found in Europe than on the US east coast. Birders had come from many nearby states to see this rare shorebird, and the FoRK team was fortunate to include this bird on their list.
The FoRK team identified 102 different species in a 24 hour period, and raised $1,019.22 in pledges! Their Bird-A-Thon effort was rewarded with the prize for most species identified and funds raised by an organization. The kids received bird houses hand-made by DOS President Derek Stoner, and an iPod Nano with BirdJam software and Stokes Birdsong CD's. The iPod will certainly come in handy when identifying birds in next year's Bird-A-Thon!
Thanks to Derek Stoner and DOS Conservation Chair Bill Stewart for inviting us to participate in this year's Bird-A-Thon. And a special thanks to Mr. Derek, Mr. Bill and Ms. Judy for guiding us through our Bird-A-Thon adventure. 
You can learn more about the Bird-A-Thon at the DOS website:

Friends of the Red Knot at the Maryland Zoo

April 2008 - Friends of the Red Knot at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Friends of the Red Knot presented our educational display at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore during Earth Week 2008. We shared information about Red Knots and horseshoe crabs, and collected signatures on postcards to both Governor O'Malley and Interior Secretary Kempthorne.

April 2008 - Campaign Launched to Ban Horseshoe Crab Harvesting in Maryland
The Friends of the Red Knot have begun a new campaign to convince Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley to ban horseshoe crab harvesting in our home state of Maryland. We have written to Governor O'Malley, explaining that 40% of the horseshoe crabs harvested from Maryland waters are part of the Delaware Bay spawning population. Furthermore, 60% of the horseshoe crabs harvested in 2007 in Maryland were females. Maryland needs to follow the example of New Jersey and do its part to help the Red Knot survive.
Over the next few months, Friends of the Red Knot will be asking other organizations and individuals to write to Governor O'Malley in support of a horseshoe crab harvesting ban. If you would like to write to Governor O'Malley, you can download our sample letter by clicking here. Write Letters to Save The Red Knot

February 2008 - Thank You New Jersey!!
On February 11, 2008 the NJ Marine Fisheries Council rejected a moratorium on horseshoe crab harvesting that was proposed by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Removing this protection for horseshoe crabs could prove deadly to the Red Knot population that feeds on Delaware Bay shores.
Fortunately for the Red Knot, environmentalists were not about to give up! On February 21st, New Jersey legislators introduced a bill to ban horseshoe crab harvesting in New Jersey. The bill passed in the full Assembly on March 13th, then passed in the Senate on March 18th. New Jersey Governor Corzine signed the new bill into law on March 25th. Congratulations and Thank You to New Jersey for doing what was necessary to help the Red Knot.
Click on the link below to hear Governor Corzine's remarks at the bill signing ceremony:


October 2007 - DNREC Fails to Stop Horseshoe Crab Harvest

After hearing testimony from Friends of the Red Knot and other environmental groups, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control decided to keep a limited harvest of 100,00 male horseshoe crabs. Though disappointed, Friends of the Red Knot will continue to work to further restrict or ban horseshoe crab harvesting, and to get the Red Knot placed on the Endangered Species List.





September 2007 - Friends of the Red Knot Testify at DNREC Hearing on Horseshoe Crab Harvest
Five members of Friends of the Red Knot testified at a hearing before the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control on September 24, 2007. The hearing was called in order to allow public testimony about proposed changes to regulations that control horseshoe crab harvesting in the state of Delaware. The Friends of the Red Knot kids presented their view that a complete ban on horseshoe crab harvesting is necessary to protect Red Knots and other shorebirds that stop to feed on Delaware Bay beaches during migration. Their testimony was well-received by all who were present at the hearing.

August 2007 - Friends of the Red Knot featured in the Urbanite
The August 2007 edition of the Urbanite magazine includes an article about Friends of the Red Knot. This engaging article gives a closer look at the kids who formed this club, and their mission to save the Red Knot. A video of the kids that was filmed by the Urbanite staff can be viewed on YouTube.

Click here to view the Urbanite article

Click here to view the Urbanite video

June 2007 - Judge Overturns Delaware Horseshoe Crab Harvesting Ban 
On June 9, 2007 Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes overturned Delaware's 2-year moratorium on the harvesting of horseshoe crabs. This development highlights why it is so important to get the Red Knot added to the Endangered Species List. Federal protection of the Red Knot would override inconsistent state and local regulation of horseshoe crab harvesting.  

Ann Rydgren presents book to club members

May 2007 - Friends of the Red Knot Visit the DuPont Nature Center
On May 23, 2007, seven members of the Friends of the Red Knot were invited to the Grand Opening of the DuPont Nature Center at Mispillion Harbor Reserve. They provided a display about the work they have been doing to get the Red Knot listed as endangered. The kids handed out many letters to be signed and sent to Secretary Kempthorne, and posed for a photo in front of a beautiful sculpture of a Red Knot. Most importantly, all of the kids had a chance to see live Red Knots feeding on the beach with other shorebirds! Ann Rydgren from the Delaware Audubon Society presented the club members with audio CD's of the Piping Plover Suite, as well as a copy of "The Flight of the Red Knot", a book about the Red Knot and it's long migration. Finally, the kids toured the impressive new nature center, which focuses on shorebirds and horseshoe crabs.

For more information about the DuPont Nature Center, click here.

Mark explains the process to the kids

May 2007 - Some Club Members Meet Red Knots Up Close
On May 24, 2007, five members of Friends of the Red Knot were invited to visit the team of scientists who capture, study and band Red Knots and other shorebirds. The Shorebird Project team is led by biologists Larry Niles and Amanda Dey. Also helping that day was Caroline Kennedy from Defenders of Wildlife, who had arranged for the Red Knot Club's invitation. Many other scientists and volunteers were present to help measure, tag and collect samples from the birds.

Harry says "goodbye" before a release

Austin holds a Ruddy Turnstone

Emily transfers a Red Knot

The kids expected to observe the Shorebird Project team members as they trapped and processed the birds. But to their surprise, they were encouraged to help with transferring and releasing the birds! All of the kids (and their chaperones) got bird-handling instruction, and spent the next few hours assisting the biologists.

A successful release, thanks to Russell

 Red Knots, Ruddy Turnstones, and Sanderlings were transferred from holding boxes to processing areas where they were measured, weighed, and banded. Lots of data was collected from each bird, as well as blood and feather samples. Red Knot Club members carried birds between different processing areas, and released them when the scientists had finished with them.

Mike meets a Red Knot

It was a fantastic experience for the kids to actually hold in their hands the beautiful birds they are trying to save! Many thanks to Larry, Mandy, Caroline and all of the other Shorebird Team members who were so kind, encouraging and helpful!

To learn more about the biologists who are studying the Red Knots, and what they are finding out, click here to visit the Shore Bird Project Blog.

Return to Home Page