Red Knots & Horseshoe Crabs: A Talk by Author Deborah Cramer, August 1

June 27, 2017
Diane Huhn
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Deborah Cramer, author, at Wingersheek Beach in Gloucester, MA, November 13, 2014.
© 2014 Shawn G. Henry • 978.590.4869

Red knots, flying between Tierra del Fuego and their Arctic nesting grounds each year, take the measure of a shoreline running the length of two continents. Its flight coincides with a different migration – that of the familiar horseshoe crab. When the moon is full in spring, horseshoe crabs emerge from Long Island Sound and other coastal waters to lay their eggs, a prime source of protein for Red Knots.

It’s a feat of biological timing that has gone on for eons. But both creatures are in peril. In many of the birds’ critical stopovers, it is a shoreline of the Anthropocene, increasingly reshaped by development, overfishing, beach erosion and storm surges. These changes are touching the knots, listed as endangered in a number of countries along its route, and now the first U.S. bird listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act because its future is imperiled by global warming. Author Deborah Cramer accompanied the birds along their extraordinary migration to bring back a firsthand account in her award-winning book The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, An Ancient Crab, and An Epic Journey. Join her to explore the lives of Red Knots in a rapidly changing world, and the work of the many scientists dedicated to providing the birds safe passage.

Cramer’s talk, sponsored by Michigan Audubon, is free and open to the public. The event is part of the inaugural meeting of the newly formed American Ornithological Society and the Society of Canadian Ornithologists/Société des ornithologistes du Canada.

In addition to the plight of the Red Knot and the horseshoe crab, her talk will also focus on the use of the horseshoe crab’s blue blood to detect harmful bacteria during surgery on humans, a procedure that protects patients from life-threatening infections.

Copies of The Narrow Edge will be for sale, and the talk will be followed by a book signing by the author.

Honors for The Narrow Edge:
Best Book, National Academy of Sciences
Rachel Carson Book Award
Winner of the Reed Award in Environmental Writing


Date: August 1, 2017
Time: 7 p.m.
Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Big Ten Auditorium
219 S. Harrison Rd.
East Lansing, MI 48824