We have partnered with the USFWS Monomoy Refuge to develop a better understanding of migratory shorebird use on Cape Cod and the Refuge. The work focused on Red knots because Cape Cod, like the Stone Harbor and Brigantine NJ, is an important southbound stopover. At each place red knots come from the Arctic Breeding areas and either build up resources for a flight to South America, or remain for to molt and replace vital primary feathers before moving on to shorter distance wintering areas in Florida and Cuba.
An important consequence of the work has been the attachment and recovery of geolocators, small devices that track movements through one of two years of the battery life. The migratory tracks from recovered geolocators have greatly expanded our understanding of red knot migratory behavior. In our last two years we focused on capturing juveniles, which move through the Cape in early September. Red knot juvenile 254 was a recapture two years after release on Delaware Bay. It first left Cape Cod and wintered in North Carolina. In their first year juvenile red knots don't go to the Arctic to breed and so 254 flew back to Cape Cod to summer. In the next fall it flew to Cuba to winter, then to NC then to the Arctic. This was the first known track of a juvenile red knot and one of the few of any species.