The Wonders of Bird Migration

Have you ever wondered why researchers band and GPS tag birds? One of the many reasons is to track migration routes. According to the article, “Bird appears to set non-stop distance record with 8,435-mile flight from Alaska to Australia” we may have a new world record for the most miles in a single flight! The previous record was 7,580 miles from Alaska to New Zealand in 2020. Although it is said that the same bird broke its own record in 2021 with a 8,100 mile flight. This new bird in 2022, a bar-tailed godwit, appears to have beaten both records at 8,435 miles. The bar-tailed godwit was equipped with a GPS chip and tiny solar panel. It took 11 days for the bird to travel from Alaska to Tasmania according to the data from Germany’s Max Plank Institute for Ornithology.

From the article above, researchers weren’t sure if the bar-tailed godwit was flying alone, or as part of a flock. The USGS Bird Banding Laboratory receives on average, 1.2 million banding records each year. But even still, there is not enough banded birds out there. Researchers aren’t sure if the bar-tailed godwit traveling that much distance is the norm, or an outlier.

Bird migration is a fascinating phenomenon of nature. As a bird band manufacturer, we enjoy getting to see the research, and findings that our bands help discover. If you are interested learning more about migratory routes, then check out the Audubon’s Bird Migration Explorer. This interactive tool lets you view the paths of over 400 bird species.

Picture from Audubon Field Guide

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