Delaware Bay Estuary Project
Northeast Region

Shorebirds and Horseshoe Crabs at Delaware Bay

horseshoe crab eggs
Horseshoe crabs along Delaware Bay
horseshoe crab eggs
Horseshoe crab eggs
Red knot
Red Knot

Delaware Bay hosts the largest spawning population of horseshoe crabs in the world and the second largest population of migrating shorebirds in North America.  Over eighty percent of the Western Hemisphere’s population of red knot depends upon horseshoe crab eggs to double their weight in less than two weeks before flying to the Arctic to nest.  Delaware Bay is designated within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network as having the highest reserve status.   In addition to providing the principal food source for migratory birds in Delaware Bay, horseshoe crabs comprise the main diet of juvenile loggerhead turtles. 

To help band and resight birds:

The Delaware Shorebird Project

To Report Banded shorebirds:

Reporting and Resighting

General information about Shorebirds:

Red Knots

International Wader Study Group

Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring

Shorebird Research Group of the Americas

Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Fact sheet on shorebird species

Report Tagged Horseshoe Crabs:

Horshoecrab recapture form

Horseshoe Crab Spawner Survey:

2010 Horshoecrab Census Information

Other Information about Horseshoe Crabs:

Ecological Research & Development Group

Seagrant and NOAA site on Horshoe crabs

Atlantic States marine Fisheries Commission

Fact Sheet on Horseshoe Crabs

Last updated: July 18, 2012

Northeast Region Ecological Services

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