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Old 06-06-2010, 05:29 AM   #1
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dove 7,000 Miles Nonstop, and No Pretzels

7,000 Miles Nonstop, and No Pretzels

By CARL ZIMMER
New York Times
Published: May 24, 2010

Quote:
The transmitters sent their location to Mr. Gill’s computer, and he sometimes stayed up until 2 in the morning to see the latest signal appear on the Google Earth program running on his laptop. Just as he had suspected, the bar-tailed godwits headed out over the open ocean and flew south through the Pacific. They did not stop at islands along the way. Instead, they traveled up to 7,100 miles in nine days — the longest nonstop flight ever recorded. “I was speechless,” Mr. Gill said.
Quote:
Since then, scientists have tracked a number of other migrating birds, and they are beginning now to publish their results. Those results make clear that the bar-tailed godwit is not alone. Other species of birds can fly several thousand miles nonstop on their migrations, and scientists anticipate that as they gather more data in the years to come, more birds will join these elite ranks.
Quote:
The long journeys these transmitters are revealing pose a biological puzzle. Dr. Piersma and other scientists are trying to figure out how the birds manage to push their bodies so far beyond most animals, and why.
Quote:
The birds fly for thousands of miles. How they get to their final destinations remains a mystery. One thing is clear: they somehow know where they are, even when they are flying over vast expanses of featureless ocean. “It’s as if they have a GPS on board,” Dr. Piersma said.
To read the rest of this fascinating bird migration article click on the link below:
7,000 Miles Nonstop, and No Pretzels
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