By Sandy Bauers – Inquirer Staff Writer – philly.com
The red knot, a small shorebird whose 10,000-mile migration brings it to Delaware Bay each spring, has been designated an endangered species in New Jersey, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday.
Wildlife officials said that the new status, a change from threatened, did not add protections. However, it is formal recognition that despite years of efforts to help the bird, its numbers continue to decline.
The red knot population on the bay is about 15,000, down from nearly 100,000 two decades ago.
The change was one of several revisions and additions adopted by the DEP. Put on the endangered list were two other birds – the black rail and golden-winged warbler – as well as the gray petaltail, which is a species of dragonfly, and Indiana bat.
Six dragonfly species and three birds – the American kestrel, cattle egret, and horned lark – were added to the state’s threatened list.
Species upgraded because their status has improved include the bald eagle, osprey, peregrine falcon, red-shouldered hawk, northern goshawk, short-eared owl, vesper sparrow, and Cooper’s hawk.
“We have many positive takeaways from this most recent update to the lists, but we are also reminded that much work still lies ahead of us,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.