National Marine Conservation Areas of Canada
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Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan
Shorebirds (large to small): Short-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus), Red knot (Calidris canutus) and Sanderling (Calidris alba)
© Parks Canada / Dorothea Kappler, 1995
Weighing less than 60 g (about 2 ounces) and most less than half that, these small birds make some of the most spectacular migrations known. From their breeding grounds in the Arctic, they winter in Central and South America, a journey of 6,000-19,000 km depending on the species. This fantastic voyage is usually accomplished with only one or two stops along the way, the birds turning themselves into small balls of lard by putting on as much as 50% of their weight in fat as they feed on the abundant intertidal invertebrates at these critical staging areas.