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Red knot stopover population size and migration ecology at Delaware Bay, USA, 2022

December 30, 2022

Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa) stop at Delaware Bay on the mid-Atlantic coast of North America during northward migration to feed on eggs of horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus). In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the number of Red Knots found at Delaware Bay declined from ~50,000 to ~13,000. Horseshoe crabs have been harvested for use as bait in eel (Anguilla rostrata) and whelk (Busycon) fisheries since at least 1990, and some avian conservation biologists hypothesized that horseshoe crab harvest levels in the 1990s prevented sufficient refueling for successful migration to the breeding grounds, nesting, and survival for the remainder of the annual cycle. Since 2013, the harvest of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay region has been managed using an Adaptive Resource Management (ARM) framework. The objective of the ARM framework is to manage sustainable harvest of Delaware Bay horseshoe crabs while maintaining ecosystem integrity and supporting Red Knot recovery with adequate stopover habitat for Red Knots and other migrating shorebirds. For annual harvest recommendations, the ARM framework requires annual estimates of horseshoe crab population size and the Red Knot stopover population size. We conducted a mark-recapture-resight investigation to estimate the passage population of Red Knots at Delaware Bay in 2022. We used a Bayesian analysis of a Jolly-Seber model, which accounts for turnover in the population and the probability of detection during surveys. The 2022 Red Knot mark-resight dataset

Publication Year 2022
Title Red knot stopover population size and migration ecology at Delaware Bay, USA, 2022
Authors James E. Lyons
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70241988
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Eastern Ecological Science Center