"Sandy's Wake Leaves Shore Birds in Dire Straits"

"When red knots descend on the beaches of Delaware Bay this spring famished from their marathon flight toward the Canadian Arctic from the tip of South America, the rosy-breasted shorebirds may find slim pickings instead of the feast of horseshoe crab eggs they count on to fuel the rest of their migration."

"Superstorm Sandy scrubbed away almost all the sand the crabs need to spawn upon. Restoring it in time is a top priority of wildlife groups beginning to repair Sandy's massive damage to dunes, beaches and salt marshes along the Eastern Seaboard that support a diverse population of birds, fish, marine organisms and other wildlife.

A recent report by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation predicts that the storm -- which across the region washed away sand and vegetation that many species spawn in or call home, or polluted habitats with oil, sewage and other contaminants -- is almost certain to have lasting effects on the recovery of the red knot.

The Delaware Bay could be called the Serengeti of the mid-Atlantic for the staggering numbers of birds there, said Eric Stiles, executive director of New Jersey Audubon. In addition to providing a wintering area for waterfowl that breed in the Great Plains of the United States and Canada, the estuary also provides a winter range for large numbers of raptors, including bald eagles."

Mary Esch reports for the Associated Press February 3, 2013.
 

Source: AP, 02/04/2013