A Year on the Wind With the Great Survivor B95

Book - 2012
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B95 can feel it: a stirring in his bones and feathers. It's time. Today is the day he will once again cast himself into the air, spiral upward into the clouds, and bank into the wind.

He wears a black band on his lower right leg and an orange flag on his upper left, bearing the laser inscription B95. Scientists call him the Moonbird because, in the course of his astoundingly long lifetime, this gritty, four-ounce marathoner has flown the distance to the moon--and halfway back!

B95 is a robin-sized shorebird, a red knot of the subspecies rufa. Each February he joins a flock that lifts off from Tierra del Fuego, headed for breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, nine thousand miles away. Late in the summer, he begins the return journey.

B95 can fly for days without eating or sleeping, but eventually he must descend to refuel and rest. However, recent changes at ancient refueling stations along his migratory circuit--changes caused mostly by human activity--have reduced the food available and made it harder for the birds to reach. And so, since 1995, when B95 was first captured and banded, the worldwide rufa population has collapsed by nearly 80 percent. Most perish somewhere along the great hemispheric circuit, but the Moonbird wings on. He has been seen as recently as November 2011, which makes him nearly twenty years old. Shaking their heads, scientists ask themselves: How can this one bird make it year after year when so many others fall?

National Book Award-winning author Phillip Hoose takes us around the hemisphere with the world's most celebrated shorebird, showing the obstacles rufa red knots face, introducing a worldwide team of scientists and conservationists trying to save them, and offering insights about what we can do to help shorebirds before it's too late. With inspiring prose, thorough research, and stirring images, Hoose explores the tragedy of extinction through the triumph of a single bird. Moonbird is one The Washington Post 's Best Kids Books of 2012.

A Common Core Title.

Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374304683
Characteristics: 148 p. : col. ill., col. maps ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

National Book Award-winning author Phillip Hoose takes us around the hemisphere with the world's most celebrated shorebird.

From the critics

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IndyPL_SteveB Apr 17, 2019

A surprising and fascinating non-fiction book by National Book Award-winner (and Indiana native) Phillip Hoose. This is aimed at middle grades, but would be interesting to anyone fascinated by birds. B95 is the label on the band attached to the leg of an incredibly tough bird, a rufa red knot. First tagged in 1995, when he was estimated to be at least 3 years old, B95 has made annual migrations from the Arctic Circle in northern Canada to the tip of South America, approximately 18,000 miles per year. These birds fly one leg of the annual trip for about 5,000 miles without stopping. B95 was nicknamed “Moonbird” when someone realized that in his life he had flown the distance to the moon. Since then he has nearly added “and back” to that distance.
The feeding places of the red knots, as well as of other shorebirds, have been severely diminished by seaside development and by over-fishing of clams, crabs, etc. Hoose points out how these ecosystems are all integrated, from Canada to the tip of Argentina. While red knots are not officially listed as endangered yet, their numbers have dropped to less than a third of what they were 15 years ago. Hoose’s research is deep and he is an excellent writer.

Dec 11, 2015

Man of Steel move over...there is a new superhero up in the skies and he is B95, a rufa red knot, a migratory shore bird who flies some 9,000 miles every year from his wintering grounds at the tip of South America to his breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle. The author documents a year in the life of this remarkable bird, and the dedicated group of scientists that are studying red knots and trying to prevent extinction of this species. B95 is almost 20 years old and during his remarkable lifetime the population of red knots has decreased by 80%. The writing is superb and the story is accompanied by breathtaking photographs and sidebars containing detailed information about the scientists, stopover sites along the way, and methods used to capture, band, and document these birds. The book ends with a well balanced discussion of extinction and what can and should be done for these birds. This is a non-fiction book, which reads like fiction. The reader also comes to share the scientists strong emotions toward B95...willing him to be spotted at each stopover, and cheering for him each time his distinctive band is spotted.

Oct 24, 2015

For those who don't know, as of 2015 Moonbird is still alive and traveling. I believe he was spotted this year on the east coast. His tag is fading, though, but still readable.

Every year, the rufa red knots fly from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost point of South America and back. B95—nicknamed Moonbird because he has flown the distance to the moon and halfway back!—was banded in 1995 and is still making the trip. Follow his journey and the many challenges he faces, and meet the people who are trying to save the red knots from extinction. Illus. with photos.

JCLMELODYK Mar 15, 2013

Prepare to be in awe of this tiny creature, who weighs merely ounces and has survived 19 years on Planet Earth migrating each year from the southern most tip of South America to Canada. This magnificent little bird, a rufa red knot with the leg band B95, has flown the distance to the moon and halfway back. How can something so fragile be so indestructible? This book is written for middle school students but is a must read for everyone!

Jan 16, 2013

Moonbird, by Phillip Hoose, is the story of an incredible bird, B95. Through his story, we learn about an amazing species of tiny shore bird, the Rufa Red Knot. The size of a robin, this bird has one of the longest distance migrations of any animal — more than 18,000 miles in a round trip. B95 has made that trip 20 times, flying the equivalent of the distance to the moon and halfway back, earning him the nickname Moonbird. Hoose's storytelling brings B95 to life for readers in a way that makes them care about Moonbird as much as any character in a fictional book. They can be swept up in the story as surely as in any novel, while being left with an admiration for this plucky species and a greater understanding of the environmental issues that threaten its survival. If the story of this incredible shore bird sparks your interest in endangered bird species, be sure to check out Phillip Hoose's book about the ivory-billed woodpecker, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird.


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Oct 24, 2015

BabyDuck68 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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