Species: Rufa Red Knot
Date of Birth: July 1, 1992
Place of Birth: Canadian Arctic
Reason for Trip: Following the food and sun to my breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.
Date of Departure: March 1, 2013
Travel Time: 3months
Place of Origin: Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Destination: Southampton Island, Canadian Arctic
Frequent Flyer Miles Earned: 9,000
Lifetime Frequent Flyer Miles: About 350,000 (A distance equal to the moon and halfway back. That’s why they call me Moonbird).
Essential Travel Needs: Before every long flight I gobble up as much protein as I can and convert it to pure fat. All this pigging-out can swell my body to 2 times my normal size. It is also important that I have molted into my new my spring plumage before I take off. If there are any gaps, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
First Flight: When I was six weeks old, I began my first journey from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tip of South America. I had to do it in several stages, stopping at refueling stations. My parents weren’t with me, but they had passed down an internal GPS that allowed me navigate halfway around the world.
Scariest Flight: On one trip to the Southern Hemisphere, I crossed the Atlantic Ocean during the height of one of the worst hurricane seasons on record. Fortunately, I was able to thread the needle between two huge storms and made it safety to my destination.
Want to learn more about Moonbird's journey? The Conservancy's Phil Hoose has written a book about this amazing traveler. Click here to check it out.April 19, 2013