A Rufa Red Knot in the surf of the Delaware Bay in Cumberland County, NJ.
|Species||Calidris canutus rufa|
|Hatched||c. 1923 (age 95–96) or older|
|Known for||his extreme longevity|
The bird, a male of the Calidris canutus rufa subspecies of the red knot (a species of shorebird in the sandpiper family), was banded in Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina in February 1995 by Patricia González, an Argentine biologist. It has been resighted many times since then, most recently during May 2014 by González in the Canadian Arctic. It also has been recaptured at least three times—the last time in 2007 (aged approximately 14) when it was found to be "as fit as a three-year-old". It is not known how long red knots typically live.
Although more formally known as B95 (from the "B95" label on the orange band on its leg), it is nicknamed "Moonbird" because its annual migrations along the Atlantic Flyway between Tierra del Fuego and the Canadian Arctic have in total exceeded the distance to the Moon. It flies approximately 20,000 miles (32,000 km) a year.
In its migration from Tierra del Fuego, B95 stops off in Delaware Bay in the Northern Hemisphere in spring to feed on horseshoe crab eggs, before proceeding to breeding grounds on an island in the north of Hudson Bay. The red knot population has declined since the 1990s because of the harvesting of Delaware Bay's horseshoe crabs for bait; hence restrictions on harvesting have been put in place. Migrating back to Tierra del Fuego in November for the Southern Hemisphere spring, red knots feed on mussels in the restinga tidal flats there.
Writer Phillip Hoose, who worked as a conservationist for many years, tracked B95's movements throughout three years, writing about him in a book Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 (2012, ISBN 978-0-374-30468-3). The book received an honor in the Robert F. Sibert Award, and was a finalist in the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction.
- McGlinchey, Dave. "Moonbird B95 Spotted Again In Argentina". Manomet Bird Observatory. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Swain, Glenn (29 May 2014). "A Red-Knot Celebrity Is Back in Town". New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Bauers, Sandy. "Globe-spanning bird B95 is back for another year". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Conniff, Richard. "On the Trail of an Intrepid Bird". Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Alejandra, Martins (July 11, 2012). "B95, the great survivor". mongabay.com. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- Swick, Nate. "Knot B95 returns to Delaware in its Third Decade". Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Famed bird reappears after 400,000 miles of flight". mongabay.com. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "B95: The Toughest Four Ounces of Life". The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Cappy, Kirsten. "Hoose Reports from Delaware Bay". Phillip Hoose's blog. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Robert F. Sibert Medal and Honor Books, 2001–present". Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Young Adult Library Services Association". Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- Bland, Sam. "B95 the Red Knot: The Tale of a Famous Flyer". North Carolina Coastal Federation. Retrieved 2 June 2014.