Younger godwit makes longest identified nonstop flight ever

A four-month-old Bar-tailed Godwit often called B6 set a brand new world document by finishing a nonstop 11-day migration of 8,425 miles (13,558 km) from Alaska to Tasmania, Australia. This journey represents the longest documented nonstop flight by any animal!

A group of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Max Planck Institute, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service carried out a examine to trace the migration of juvenile (hatch-year) Bar-tailed Godwits from breeding websites close to Nome, Alaska. The examine was established to higher perceive how the birds navigate their first migrations from Alaska to wintering websites. This work is an element of a bigger effort to grasp the areas and occasions of the yr the place godwits face the best threats.

A special Bar-tailed Godwit, often called 4BBRW, beforehand held the nonstop flight document, which it set in every of the final two years. It flew 8,109 miles (13,050 km) from Alaska to New Zealand in 2021. In 2020, its route lined 7,987 miles (12,854 km).

Tracked by transmitter

After fatting up on the Kuskokwim Delta, B6 left Alaska on October 13 and arrived in Australia on October 24. The shorebird was tracked utilizing a 5-gram solar-powered satellite tv for pc transmitter that was connected to its rump. Scientists used a U.S. Geological Survey steel band and a uniquely coded alphanumeric leg flag to uniquely establish particular person birds.

“They don’t land on the water. They don’t glide,” mentioned Dan Ruthrauff, a U.S. Geological Survey analysis wildlife biologist who helped tag B6. “That is flapping flight for per week and a half. It’s loopy, and I believe is simply tangible sufficient that we are able to recognize it and have our minds correctly blown.”

A wing of the godwit B6 is prolonged. Picture by Dan Ruthrauff/U.S. Geological Survey

Bar-tailed Godwits that breed in Alaska yearly conduct continuous migrations between the forty ninth State and wintering websites in New Zealand and japanese Australia, however the actions of juvenile godwits on their first southbound migrations have by no means earlier than been tracked.

Alaska is a critically essential website for the world’s shorebirds. Alaska has an abundance of coastal ecosystems and meals assets that present essential breeding and migratory stopover websites for shorebirds. Thirty-seven shorebird species often breed in Alaska and most of those species conduct spectacular long-distance migrations. As their identify implies, shorebirds are intimately linked to shorelines and wetlands, a indisputable fact that doubtlessly heightens their vulnerability to climate-related results attributable to rising seas and diminished wetland capabilities. Shorebirds depend on interconnected networks of practical ecosystems at websites that usually are situated hundreds of miles aside all over the world.

The main focus of shorebird analysis on the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Alaska Science Middle is to assist establish essential breeding and migratory websites, and to analyze the causes of the declines in lots of shorebird populations. Data from these research is guiding conservation efforts and serving to scientists and conservation teams to higher perceive the consequences of global-scale threats to shorebirds, together with habitat modification and degradation, local weather change, and the unfold of infectious ailments.

Due to the USGS Alaska Science Middle for offering this information.

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