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The Fantastic Flight of Moonbird <strong>July 2, 1937 -- Amelia Earhart Vanishes Over the Pacific</strong><br><br>Navigating without modern technology is dangerous work. But for Moonbird it has always been second nature. Since he was six weeks old he's known where he's going. In fact, in the first year of his life, he flew from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of Argentina and back. That's over 18,000 uncharted miles before he was one year old. <br><br><small>© istockphoto/PeskyMonkey</small> <strong>July 10, 2005 -- Category 4 Hurricane Dennis Wreaks Havoc on Cuba and Florida Panhandle</strong><br><br>Summer is a tumultuous time in the Atlantic Ocean with deadly hurricanes streaking across its waters. On Moonbird's annual trip south, he crosses this treacherous area when these storms are raging. However, amazing new research is showing that migrating birds may use these high winds to their advantage by hitching a ride and hanging on for dear life.<br><br><small>© istockphoto/Spiritartist</small> <strong>July 4, 2011 -- Joey Chestnut eats 62 Hot Dogs and Buns in Ten Minutes at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island</strong><br><br>Cramming down 16,000 calories in one sitting may seem unbeatable, but Moonbird could give most competitive eaters a run for their money. In preparation for his long flights, he can consume 14 times his body weight. For a 160 pound human, they would need to eat around 9,000 hot dogs in two weeks to match this effort.<br><br><small>© Jim Fenton, photo from <span style='font-style:italic'>Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survor B95</span></small> <strong>July 27, 2012 -- London Summer Olympics Start</strong><br><br>This summer the world's greatest athletes will compete in Great Britain. If shorebirds could participate, Moonbird would be a gold medal favorite in the marathon. You would have to run about two marathons a day to cover the amount of miles Moonbird does in a year.<br><br><small>© Kevin Dooley under Creative Commons license</small> <strong>July 3, 2007 -- Transformers, the Movie, is Released</strong><br><br>Michael Bay's blockbuster featuring alien robots that "transform" before your eyes is one of the highest grossing movies of all time. But morphing isn't just science-fiction. Moonbird does it every year to survive. In fact, he can quickly shrink his internal organs to make room for fuel needed for long flights. <br><br><small>© istockphoto/BrendanHunter</small> <strong>July 20, 1969 -- Apollo 11 Lands on the Moon</strong><br><br>Neil Armstrong and Moonbird both know what it's like to travel long distances while the world is watching. In 20 years, Moonbird has traveled the distance of to the moon and halfway back. In fact, Moonbird is known by many as "Moonbird." Maybe someday he will have logged more hours than our most famous astronauts?<br><br><small>© istockphoto/the_guitar_mann</small> <strong>July 15, 1916 -- Boeing Aircraft was Founded in Seattle, Washington</strong><br><br>Huge jets made by Boeing have made transcontinental flights a modern reality. But shorebirds like Moonbird have been doing it for millennia. In fact, some estimate that Moonbird can fly 5,000 miles without stopping—possibly from Brazil to the northern United States.<br><br><small>© istockphoto/travellinglight</small> <strong>July 17, 2012 -- The Moonbird Chronicles Released</strong><br><br>National Book Award Winner, and longtime Conservancy employee, Phil Hoose will release a book on Moonbird this month. <span style='font-style:italic'>Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor Moonbird</span> chronicles this bird's incredible life. <br><br><small>© Jan van de Kam</small> <strong>July 30, 1947 &ndash;&ndash; Arnold Schwarzenegger is Born in Austria</strong><br><br>Despite unbelievable odds, Moonbird has proven one thing…He"ll be back! <br /><br />© istockphoto/edstock <strong>July 17, 1952 -- David Hasselhoff is Born</strong><br><br>Baywatch made David Hasselhoff a household name around the world as he patrolled the beaches of Southern California looking for troubled swimmers. For Moonbird, danger is everywhere on his favorite beaches. Unfortunately, many of his stopovers are shrinking as humans infringe on his traditional habitat. Loss of places to land and eat is the major plight of shorebirds around the world. <br><br><small>© flicker user/Xurble</small> Click on the map to learn more about the incredible distances the Moonbird flies every year.<br><br>© Jeffrey L.Ward, Map from <span style='font-style:italic'>Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survor B95</span> <small>© Jan van de Kam, photo from <span style='font-style:italic'>Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survor B95</span></small>
 

The Fantastic Flight of Moonbird

July is packed with iconic and historic events. From Independence Day to the London Olympics, this summer month is worth celebrating.

That's why The Nature Conservancy is dedicating July to another exciting event: the fantastic flight of a tiny four-ounce shorebird nicknamed Moonbird.

Twenty Julys ago, this rufa red knot was born in the Canadian Arctic and has since embarked on a truly extraordinary journey — logging at least 320,000 miles in his life. That’s equal to a flight to the Moon and halfway back. It’s no wonder that bird enthusiasts everywhere are calling him Moonbird.

This July marks two decades of survival. And, since Moonbird was recently spotted in Delaware Bay on his way to his breeding grounds in Canada, we know his saga continues! 

Explore the amazing qualities of Moonbird in the graphic above.

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