Quirks & Quarks

The Narrow Edge

Looking at the complex interdependence of birds, sea life and coastal habitat

Examining the critical link between species

A tagged red knot foraging. (Greg Breese, U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service)
Each year, the red knot, a tiny sandpiper, flies from Tierra del Fuego - off the southernmost tip of South America - to the Canadian Arctic, and back. 

Along the more than 30,000 kilometre journey, it feeds in various places, but most famously on the beaches of Delaware Bay. It is there it finds the plentiful, energy-rich eggs of the horseshoe crab that enable the red knot to complete the migration north.

The story of the close ties between the two species and their current decline is chronicled in the new book, The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab and An Epic Journey, by science writer and Visiting Scholar at M.I.T. Deborah Cramer. The author travels the migration route herself and chronicles what shrinking coastal regions mean for all shorebirds and the people who live by the water's edge. 

Related Links

- The Narrow Edge - Yale University Press
- NPR interview
- New York Times Opinion piece by Ms. Cramer