Moonbird by Phillip HooseMoonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95

By Phillip Hoose
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Available in Hardcover, Audiobook
Order from Amazon | Indiebound |


About the Book
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!

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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 May 2012, 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?

SUPPORT Moonbird and rufa red knots
FOLLOW the arrival of Moonbird and rufa red knots on Delaware Bay
READ MORE about the Rufa Red Knot and the organizations that help them
VISIT the Nature Convervancy’s Rufa Red Knot page
VISIT B95’s Wiki Page
LISTEN to Phillip Hoose Read and Discuss Moonbird at
LISTEN to Phillip Hoose Interviewed on Public Radio
LISTEN to Phillip Hoose Interviewed on Utah Public (Radio West, KUER )
READ Blog Post at TeachingBooks.Net
READ an Interview with Phillip Hoose on Philadelphia Inquirer

LISTEN to Phillip Hoose’s song about the rufa red knot, Delaware Bay Blues
BUY the song Delaware Bay Blues at CDBaby ($.99)

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Awards & Accolades
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal Honor
Green Earth Book Award
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students 2013 (National Science Teachers Association)
YALSA Excellence in Non-Fiction Award Finalist
Science Magazine’s Science Books & Films Children’s Prize Finalist
Kirkus Review’s Best Teen Books of 2012
Horn Book’s Best Children’s and YA books of the Year 2012
School Library Journal Best Books 2012
Library Journal Best Books 2012 for Young Adults
Booklist Best Books of 2012
Washington Post Best Children’s Book 2012
Los Angeles Public Library Best of 2012: Children’s Books
Parent’s Choice Gold Winner
Junior Library Guild Selection
Cybils Finalist for Non-Fiction for Tweens & Teens
Blue Ribbon from The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books



“…combines narrative and information seamlessly.” –Lizzy Burns, A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy

★ “Putting an actual beaked face to the problem of animal endangerment makes the story of the species’ peril all the more compelling, and only the truly hard of heart could resist cheering for B95 to make it through one more trip.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

★”Even for his species, B95 is extraordinary—“one of the world’s premier athletes”—but Hoose’s fascinating account concerns much more than this one bird. In lucid, graceful prose, Hoose details the red knots’ characteristics and strategies, sampling far-flung challenges to their survival…Glorious full-page color photographs alternate with excellent smaller photos…” —Horn Book, starred review

★“Meticulously researched and told with inspiring prose and stirring images, this is a gripping, triumphant story of science and survival.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★“Readers will appreciate Hoose’s thorough approach in contextualizing this amazing, itinerant creature that was last spotted in 2011..” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

★“…beautifully written and meticulously researched…Sure to be one of the most well-received information books of the year, and deservedly so.l.” – Booklist, starred review

“As he does with every topic he tackles–the ivory-billed woodpecker, civil rights, basketball–Hoose provides interesting details about his topic, and then, provides ways that they can act to make a change. Additionally, the thumbnail sketches of scientists and youngsters who are involved in making sure there is a place for B95 and others of his species answer any questions readers might have as they are reading. Above all, this is a survival story nestled within a story of conservation, one that reminds readers of the interconnection of species…Given the odds against him, how can we not care about the fate of B95 and others like him? Nonfiction doesn’t get better than this.”  –Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association

“With an effective mix of facts and conjecture, Hoose conveys B95’s wide experience, from the challenges of his first month in Arctic Canada 20 years ago to the physical demands of flying for three days straight. Hoose’s vivid prose and the book’s close-up photos give a sense of other red-knot talents, like fattening up for a long flight and sleeping while staying alert for predators.” —Washington Post

“Readers will become attached to this irresistible bird and may well join the worldwide enthusiasm for the remarkable B95.” –Angela Carstensen, Shelf Awareness

“An extraordinary book.  An extraordinary bird.” –Pete Seeger, Legendary folk singer and activist

“This is a compellingly told story of a remarkable individual bird, and of how greatly his world has changed in just two decades.” —Jonathan Franzen, New York Times bestselling author of The Corrections and Freedom

“This book is a joy for anyone who’s looked up at a soaring flock of shorebirds and wondered where in the world they were going. Phil Hoose takes you there, on the wings of a phenomenal little superbird known as B95. It’s a great true story about a vanishing breed and one amazing, tireless survivor.”
Carl Hiaasen, author of the Newbery Honor Book, Hoot

“Moonbird shows marvelously well, with Phillip Hoose’s very engaging style, that to celebrate the individual makes it easier to save the species.” —Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

“I always know that a book by Phil Hoose will take a complex subject and make it understandable, while maintaining a sense of awe and wonder, and this book is no exception. This amazing bird, flying across hemispheres, faces challenges of endurance, climate, geography, politics, and more, which are all explained with the perfect balance of science and story-telling. I highly recommend it.” —David Sibley, author of the Sibley Guides


45 thoughts on “Moonbird

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  26. We are reading your book in class and it’s amazing. B95’s story is one awe-inspiring feat, made me realize how hardy these shorebirds really are.

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  32. Actually, you should write, “because of” not “due to” — a journalistic tip from the AP Stylebook.

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