Red Knots in the Southeast US: Acting Locally, Thinking Globally

Speaker: Fletcher Smith, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Date: March 23, 2023

Location: The Lake House Live Oak Hall (Max: 100)


7:00 pm – Registration and Refreshments

7:30 pm – Program

8:30 pm – Q&A and Program Close

Cost: Free for 2023 SIB members; $10 per guest

Register here.

Program Description:

For years we’ve told the remarkable story of the 9,000 mile Red Knot migration, flying from Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America to the Arctic to breed, and making an important stop at Seabrook to rest and fatten up. But did you know that many Red Knots spend entire winters in the southeastern United States along the Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coasts, including Seabrook Island?

Please join us to hear Fletcher Smith discuss this subspecies of Red Knots that rely on the Southeast coast’s developed beaches for most of the year before flying to the Arctic, like their more famous brethren, to breed. Fletcher has been a migratory shorebird researcher for more than 20 years, working from the high Arctic to the South American wintering grounds. He is currently a wildlife biologist with Georgia Department of Natural Resources, researching and monitoring shorebird populations along the Georgia coastal islands. Through this work, he is very familiar with the Red Knots at Seabrook and Kiawah Islands. 

Fletcher will review the life cycle of Red Knots, and their breeding season and wintering ecology. His focus will be the critical linkage that Seabrook and Kiawah provide as a stopover during all Red Knot migration, and why this is so important to this threatened species.

Speaker Biography: Fletcher Smith has worked with a diversity of bird species throughout the western hemisphere, following migrants from their breeding to winter grounds. His research projects include work with Whimbrels, Red Knots, Marsh Sparrows, and neo-tropical migrants. Fletcher currently is a wildlife biologist with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Northland College in Wisconsin, a private liberal arts college with a progressive focus on the environment and sustainability.

Also, it is not too late to join or learn more about the Seabrook Island Shorebird Steward Program!  We invite you to visit the Shorebird Stewards tab on the Seabrook Island Birders webpage. Sign up with your spouse or a friend, or meet new friends. Send an email to to join the group or ask for more information. It is a rewarding experience that you will surely come to cherish.

-Submitted by SIB

(Image credit: SIB)