Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey

Red Knot: A Shorebird's Incredible Journey

by Nancy Carol Willis, Nancy Carol Willis
     
 

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Narrated in journal entries from the point of view of a red knot—a robin-sized shore bird that migrates 20,000 miles annually, from the tip of South America to the Arctic Circle and back—this book depicts one such dramatic journey in stunningly detailed colored-pencil illustrations of the flight over the Atlantic Ocean, a landing in Delaware Bay, the

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Overview

Narrated in journal entries from the point of view of a red knot—a robin-sized shore bird that migrates 20,000 miles annually, from the tip of South America to the Arctic Circle and back—this book depicts one such dramatic journey in stunningly detailed colored-pencil illustrations of the flight over the Atlantic Ocean, a landing in Delaware Bay, the northern nesting grounds, chicks feeding on hatching insects, a close call with an arctic fox, and the return home. At the heart of the story is a message about conservation: the birds stop only a few times as they travel and always in the same coastal areas where dwindling food supplies have caused a precipitous decline in their numbers over the past decade. Science concepts such as animal life cycles, climate, extinction, the food chain, and migration are introduced by information about how bird-banding and protecting the horseshoe crab—whose eggs are a principal food for red knots—can help them survive. A four-page appendix includes a map of the western hemisphere, a range and route map for migrating birds, a glossary, a timeline, and the history and conservation of red knots. This book was the first runner up in the Children's category for the 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The author tells the life cycle story of an amazing little bird who travels 20,000 miles each year when it flies rountrip from its winter home in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, to the Canadian Arctic. Along the way, the bird must find enough food to keep alive, find a mate, and lay the eggs that will create the next generation. An essential stop in the United States is on the coast of Delaware, where the birds feed after a 4,000 mile non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The population of the Calidris Canutus, or Red Knot, has declined from 200,000 to below 40,000 in the last twenty-five years. The wonders of nature are so incredible that readers will be in awe of what this small bird does each year. The timing involved in reaching a prime feeding ground at the same time as the horseshoe crabs arrive to breed, is extraordinary. The book contains a glossary, a timeline, and other detailed information on banding and the conservation work being done to protect this endangered species. 2006, Birdsong Books, and Ages 6 to adult.
—Barbara Youngblood
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This title introduces an endangered sandpiper and chronologically documents her journey from Tierra del Fuego along a 20,000-mile route to the Arctic where she has her young and then makes her way back down south for the winter. A map on the title page illustrates Red Knot's entire route and the birds' range. Willis starts the chronicle on February 1 with the bird's enormous food intake in preparation for the long journey and subsequent liftoff with 100 other knots. Diarylike entries include mentions of diet, behavior, hazards, banding, mating, nesting, and predators. The smooth, simple text is complemented with well-composed, colored-pencil drawings. Factual notes are appended. This book will serve report writers and nature lovers well.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
One of the unhappy stories of our changing environment is the near-extinction of a once innumerable population of Red Knots visiting the Delaware and New Jersey shore each spring. Without personifying the bird at all, but including an episode of banding that gives the bird an identity, the author of this welcome book follows one Red Knot from its home, Tierra del Fuego, north to its breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle, clearly introducing the species and explaining this story to young readers. Carefully delineated drawings, beginning with a map on the title page, depict this incredible journey in colorful double-page spreads that illustrate the birds so accurately that a birder can easily identify the other shorebirds pictured as well-and notice that the list of pictured birds omits the oystercatchers. The backmatter also includes further information, a glossary and acknowledgements, but no sources or index. This is both a pleasure to look at and a source of useful information for classes studying ecology, birds or seasonal changes in the world. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)
From the Publisher
First Runner Up, Children's Category, The 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Awards:

"Bird migration is the subject of this beautiful book on bird life. This isn't a dry ecology book full of facts and figures."

"Willis' birds are beautifully drawn and are a great addition to the text." —Greg Butcher, Director of Bird Conservation, National Audubon Society

"Willis has taken decades of research and reduced it to an illustrated, simple, and straightforward story of migration wonder." —Brian A. Harrington, author, Flight of the Red Knot

"This beautifully illustrated book teaches children about this amazing species, currently in serious decline." —Russell W. Peterson, former governor, Delaware; past president, National Audubon Society
 

"This lovely book gets the message across to children that we need to care for our environment." —Nigel A. Clark, head of projects, British Trust for Ornithology"

"Will advance the education of children and adults about critical issues surrounding the annual shorebird and horseshoe crab migrations." —Michael E. Riska, executive director, Delaware Nature Society

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780966276152
Publisher:
Birdsong Books
Publication date:
05/28/2006
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,413,237
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.17(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Red Knot

A Shorebird's Incredible Journey


By Nancy Carol Willis

Birdsong Books

Copyright © 2006 Birdsong Books
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-9833406-3-8


CHAPTER 1

February 1, Tierra del Fuego: Cool breezes brush across the southernmost tip of South America. Winter is coming. A robin-sized shorebird called a Red Knot prepares to make one of the longest animal migrations. Dark gray wing feathers replace old, worn ones. Salmon-red body feathers begin to appear.


As the departure time nears, Red Knot's heart and wing muscles grow stronger. She stuffs herself daily on tiny clams, storing excess fat to use as fuel on her journey.

February 13: Red Knot takes flight along with 100 other knots.

February 14, 900 miles north: Red Knot reaches Argentina's smooth, rocky tide pools. She swallows small mussels whole. Her gizzard grinds up the shells along with the food. Layers of fat grow thicker.

April 4, 1,000 miles farther north: Red Knot plucks snails from shallow, grassy lagoons in southern Brazil.

April 28: Red Knot flies inland over the Amazon rainforest, headed for the northeast coast of Brazil. Aided by a tailwind, she makes the 2,300-mile, nonstop flight in three days.

May 1, northeast Brazil: At low tide along the shoreline. Red Knot pulls mussels off of the tangled mangrove roots. Red breeding feathers now cover her body.

May 11: Late afternoon, Red Knot flies out over the Atlantic Ocean. With no landmarks to guide her, she makes a turn northwest toward Delaware Bay, 4,000 miles away.

May 12: At midnight, Red Knot crosses the equator. The stars and the Earth's magnetic forces help keep her on course.

May 13: Rain and wind beat against Red Knot. Her small wings pumping hard, she rises 10,000 feet above the storm to clear skies.

Exhausted, Red Knot's body fat is gone. Her body now must burn muscle for energy to keep her aloft.

May 15. Delaware Bay: As Red Knot approaches, another migration from the deep waters is ending. Horseshoe crabs by the thousands crowd the shallow shoreline. The high tide ebbs. Round horseshoe-shaped shells bump and clatter as male crabs compete for females.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Red Knot by Nancy Carol Willis. Copyright © 2006 Birdsong Books. Excerpted by permission of Birdsong Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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What People are saying about this

Russell W. Peterson
"This beautifully illustrated book teaches children about this amazing species, currently in serious decline."
former governor of Delaware (1969-1973) and past president of the National Audubon Society (1979-1984)
From the Publisher

First Runner Up, Children's Category, The 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Awards:

"Bird migration is the subject of this beautiful book on bird life. This isn't a dry ecology book full of facts and figures."

"Willis' birds are beautifully drawn and are a great addition to the text." —Greg Butcher, Director of Bird Conservation, National Audubon Society

"Willis has taken decades of research and reduced it to an illustrated, simple, and straightforward story of migration wonder." —Brian A. Harrington, author, Flight of the Red Knot

"Will advance the education of children and adults about critical issues surrounding the annual shorebird and horseshoe crab migrations." —Michael E. Riska, executive director, Delaware Nature Society

"This lovely book gets the message across to children that we need to care for our environment." —Nigel A. Clark, head of projects, British Trust for Ornithology"

"This beautifully illustrated book teaches children about this amazing species, currently in serious decline, and the hardships it must overcome each year to nest and raise its young."  —Russell W. Peterson, former governor, Delaware; former president, National Audubon Society

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Meet the Author

Nancy Carol Willis is the author and illustrator of Raccoon Moon and The Robins in Your Backyard. She lives in Middletown, Delaware.

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