Birds That Migrate Thousands of Miles With Nary a Stop – NYTimes.com

via Birds That Migrate Thousands of Miles With Nary a Stop – NYTimes.com.

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.

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.

Tiny new geolocators allow scientists to track birds that travel thousands of miles over open oceans on their yearly migrations.  How do these birds know where they’re going?  How do they go days without sleep?  How do they store up enough energy for the journey?  These and many more questions are just now beginning to be answered by scientists, and the answers may help future generations of humans.

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