Tag archives for Migration
The great snipe is able to complete a flight from Sweden to sub-Saharan Africa in as little as two days (without any rest breaks)! Why? Scientists think it might be because these shorebirds are chubby. “They almost double their body weight before the flight,” said study leader Raymond Klaasen, a biologist at Lund University in Sweden. “And all this fat will be burned during the flight, and they will arrive lean and exhausted in Africa.” Other birds fly faster than the great snipe, but for shorter distances.
Although the snipe holds the current record for the fastest transcontinental migration, it may not hold the record for very long. There are probably faster birds out there. “Generally we know rather little about the performances of different species, as many have not yet been tracked,” said Klaasen.
Photograph by Klaus Nigge, National Geographic
A huge number of whales can be found near New York City, scientists say. To get an idea of what was happening under the surface, scientists placed underwater sound recorders off the coast of Long Island and in New York Harbor, and they picked up a surprising number of whale sounds! The recorders picked up the songs of six different kinds of whales: the fin whale, blue whale, humpback whale, minke whale, sei whale, and the North Atlantic right whale. The whales came as close as 10 miles of New York City.
Some of the whales were migrating to breeding grounds, but others stay around the coast all year round. Scientists are unable to tell exactly how many whales appear on the recordings because of the limitations of the technology.
Think you know your blue whale facts? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Photograph by Flip Nicklin, National Geographic
Up to a billion migrating birds stop over in the Gulf of Mexico region on their annual journey southward. Although BP has capped the Deepwater Horizon leak, scientists say the birds may face ill effects from the Gulf oil spill for years to come.
Songbirds fly faster than scientists thought they did
–two to three times faster, in fact! A researcher from York University in Toronto outfitted wood thrushes and purple martins with miniature geolocators and tracked them as they migrated. The geolocators work by detecting light, which allows scientists to estimate the latitude and longitude where the data was recorded.
Scientists found that the birds fly two to six times faster during their spring return journey than in fall. One purple martin flew from Brazil to back to its breeding colony in the United States in only 13 days!
Find out more about the songbird study on National Geographic News.
Learn about tiny bee backpacks in this News Bite.
Large photograph courtesy Timothy J. Morton
Inset photograph courtesy Bridget J. Stutchbury