‘Moonbird’ Chronicles Marvel of Migration

Award-Winning Portland Author Phil Hoose Releases New Book

PORTLAND, ME | July 19, 2012

B-95 can fit in your palm, yet this tiny bird has flown more than 325,000 miles.

B-95 is the star of a new book titled Moonbird, by National Book Award-winning author, Phil Hoose. B-95 and his fellow red knots fly from the Arctic to Argentina each year, facing fierce weather, predators and a changing environment.

“He’s been as far as the Earth to the moon and halfway back,” Hoose said.

Scientists have been tracking B-95 for 18 years. He’s the oldest red knot on record. No one understands how this one bird has endured so many dangerous trips from the top of world to the very bottom. Yet, in May, this survivor was again spotted at Delaware Bay on his journey north.

“Is it just good genes? Is he smarter than everybody? This one bird been successful against the odds, yet he continues to face incredible challenges in all the habitats along his route,” Hoose said.

It’s a tough life. And it’s getting tougher. Each year, B-95 travels with fewer of his fellow red knots. More than 80 percent of the known red knot population has been lost over the past 20 years. Today, only about 14,000 of the birds remain, and the red knot has been proposed for federal endangered species protection.

Places along the Eastern Seaboard, like Delaware Bay, where B-95 and his fellow red knots stop to refuel on horseshoe crab eggs, to their summer breeding grounds in Canada, are struggling to survive the impacts of development, climate change and pollution. Global conservation efforts are needed to protect millions of migratory birds, like the red knot, that are suffering drastic declines.

Hoose is available for press, review copies of Moonbird are available for press, and Hoose has several local events scheduled:

Thursday, July 19, 7 pm, Longfellow Books in Portland

Friday, August 3, 7 pm, Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick

Friday, September 28, 7 pm, Portland Public Library

Phenomenal Moonbird Facts:

  • Before departing on their 18,000 mile journey, red knots consume 14 times its weight. That’s 2,300 2/3 pounders for someone weighing 110.
  • Over thousands of years, red knots have learned to arrive exactly when the crab eggs are laid.
  • Only a few hours’ old, a red knot already knows how to walk, hunt and use his bill to eat.
  • When it’s time to head home from Canada, something seizes the red knot. They just know it’s time to go. Without an atlas, road signs or GPS, they travel another 9,000 miles.


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Contact information

Misty Edgecomb
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Nature Conservancy in Maine

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