Scientific Expedition in Mexico Discovers Shorebird Wintering Site

A Manomet-led expedition earlier this year in Oaxaca, Mexico, discovered a previously unknown wintering site for Red Knots.

 

The expedition took place in February and was led by Dr. Eduardo Palacios, program coordinator for Northwest Mexico with Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project. The team discovered about 200 Red Knots (Calidris canutus) at Laguna Superior in Oaxaca.

 

"The key and inescapable new finding of this research is that there is a population segment of Red Knots wintering in Oaxaca that connects to Texas during northbound migration on the way to the breeding grounds," Palacios said.

 

In February 2012, birdwatchers in Oaxaca reported seeing three Red Knots that had been banded in Texas. The observers also reported frequently seeing as many as 300 Red Knots in the same remote site during the winter.

 

Based on this information, a group of researchers from Mexico and the U.S. traveled to Oaxaca in late February 2013, to evaluate the importance of the area for Red Knots, explore additional sites and attempt to discover which migratory flyway is associated with this population in Oaxaca.

 

The expedition included participants from research institutes and universities in Mexico and Texas, as well as the Manomet Center. The expedition was financially supported by the U.S. Forest Service-International Programs, the Manomet Center, U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServicePronatura Sur, A.C. and Terra Peninsular.

 

- Dave McGlinchey