Thursday, June 17, 2010

bar-tailed godwits fly 7,100 miles STRAIGHT!

1. Super interesting article and mind-blowing discovery. They fly from Alaska to New Zealand. Non-stop across the Pacific (GIGANTIC) Ocean. Oh, my.

2. But, I must say, the story, well, at least one caption, calls the birds when they are in Alaska fattening up, "obese."

I take issue with that.

I don't think that is an appropriate use of the term.

Any creature fattening up to fly over SEVEN THOUSAND MILES WITH NO REST is NOT (per guilty of "having excessive body fat." You just hope it's enough (as long as they can get airborne).

So, yay for this fascinating study (and check out what 2 birds did when they hit strong head winds--moved west DIRECTLY toward land (how do they know?!?)), but BOO to whomever selected that word to describe these creatures who are flying across the globe.

I'd call them "readying" or "powering up" even "fattening up," but obese is flat-out incorrect.

Another site (USGS) talking about this work back in 2008, and has a) the most amazing map:

and b) wonderful pictures of other aspects of this project (bird, birds in habitat, people working with birds)--it's delightful.

What an amazing planet.



  1. thats certainly a LONG way to fly!! they look much like our little sandpiper... and yes it is an 'amazing planet'!

  2. Very educational post. It is amazing to me how many birds migrat around the world every year.

  3. =) And I whine (internally at least) at having to go from desk (adjacent to kitchen) to kitchen to make dinner from food in the fridge (in kitchen) and in cupboards (same), preparing all in, you guessed it, the kitchen. And they fly 7000 miles. Wow.

  4. Those bird fly between Siberia and Roebuck Bay (Western Australia) in about a month. That's just astonishing.


Cool people write inside rectangles....