On the sandy beaches of the Delaware Bay, in New Jersey, a visitor arrives each May from the southernmost tip of South America. Name: Calidris canutus rufa. The rufa red knot. What makes the red knot remarkable is its epic journey: 19,000 miles per year, from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Circle and back again, one of the longest migrations in the animal kingdom. 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 investigation of a potential new threat to red knot survival: the expansion of oyster aquaculture onto red knot feeding grounds. 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.
Directed and produced by Jared Flesher.