In light of our new life of social distancing, Seabrook Island Birders wants to share some of our previously shown “SIB Movie Matinees” which you can watch from the comfort of your home. The first two films were shown last month, as the Red Knots began arriving for the annual visit to Seabrook Island.
The first, “Crash: A Tale of Two Species,” premiered on PBS Nature in 2008. It is the story of the fabric of life, and how every species is interconnected – each one important, no matter how big or small. At its center is the humble horseshoe crab, a creature which has remained virtually unchanged for 350 million years. Its annual spring spawning produces millions of eggs that are the lifeline for a tiny bird called the Red Knot, which migrates 10,000 miles from South America to the Arctic each year. Scientific and medical communities have discovered that the crab also provides an indispensable testing agent for drugs and vaccines, as well as resources for human optics and burn treatment. But horseshoe crab numbers are plummeting from their new use as bait for the fishing industry, dropping by two-thirds or more since 1990. And the precious pyramid depending on this age-old creature is about to come crashing down. To view the hour-long program, click play below:
The second video “Birds of May”, filmed in May 2016 on the beaches of the Delaware Bay, is filmmaker Jared Flesher’s ode to the natural spectacle of the Red Knot’s annual visit. It’s also an examination of potential new threats to Red Knot survival. Not everyone is sure that expanded oyster farming and Red Knots can happily coexist. Against the scenic backdrop of the bay, Flesher interviews both oyster farmers and the shorebird biologists who fear that an oyster farming boom here could push the rufa Red Knot closer to extinction. To view the 27 minute film, click below: