National Wildlife Refuge System

Hope Returns to Delmarva Peninsula

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Credit: USFWS

The odyssey of Hope, a whimbrel carrying a satellite transmitter, continues to amaze scientists. Hope was originally captured on May 2009 on the southern Delmarva Peninsula of Virginia. She left Virginia May 26 and then logged more than 21,000 miles flying between a breeding territory on the MacKenzie River near Alaska and a winter territory on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. On April 8, 2011, Hope returned to Virginia following a 75 hour, 1,850 mile flight out over the Atlantic Ocean. During the course of two full migration cycles, Hope has clearly demonstrated how distant locations are interconnected in the life of migratory species and how their conservation requires collaboration on a multi-national scale. For three consecutive springs, Hope has returned to the same creek in Virginia feeding on fiddler crabs, preparing for a transcontinental flight to her breeding grounds. The creek is part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, a network of international sites considered critical to populations of declining shorebirds. Hope's breeding grounds on the MacKenzie River are part of an International Important Bird Area and one of the areas of highest conservation value in Canada.

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Last updated: October 28, 2010