Bird appears to set non-stop distance record with 8,435-mile flight from Alaska to Australia

A younger bar-tailed godwit appears to have set a non-stop distance record for migratory birds by flying a minimum of 13,560 kilometers (8,435 miles) from Alaska to the Australian state of Tasmania, a fowl knowledgeable mentioned Friday.

The fowl was tagged as a hatchling in Alaska throughout the Northern Hemisphere summer season with a monitoring GPS chip and tiny photo voltaic panel that enabled a global analysis staff to observe its first annual migration throughout the Pacific Ocean, Birdlife Tasmania convenor Eric Woehler mentioned. Because the fowl was so younger, its gender wasn’t identified.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica, Norfolk
A bar-tailed godwit is seen on this undated file photograph.

David Tipling/Education Images/Universal Images Group through Getty Image

Aged about 5 months, it left southwest Alaska on the Yuko-Kuskokwim Delta on Oct. 13 and touched down 11 days later at Ansons Bay on the island of Tasmania’s northeastern tip on Oct. 24, in accordance to information from Germany’s Max Plank Institute for Ornithology. The analysis has but to be revealed or peer reviewed.

The fowl began on a southwestern course towards Japan then turned southeast over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, a map revealed by New Zealand’s Pukoro Miranda Shorebird Center exhibits.

The fowl was once more monitoring southwest when it flew over or close to Kiribati and New Caledonia, then previous the Australian mainland earlier than turning instantly west for Tasmania, Australia’s most southerly state. The satellite tv for pc path confirmed it lined 13,560 kilometers (8,435 miles) with out stopping.

“Whether this is an accident, whether this bird got lost or whether this is part of a normal pattern of migration for the species, we still don’t know,” mentioned Woehler, who’s a part of the analysis project.

Guinness World Records lists the longest recorded migration by a fowl with out stopping for meals or relaxation as 12,200 km (7,580 miles) by a satellite-tagged male bar-tailed godwit flying from Alaska to New Zealand.

That flight was recorded in 2020 as a part of the identical decade-old analysis project, which additionally includes China’s Fudan University, New Zealand’s Massey University and the Global Flyway Network.

The similar fowl broke its personal record with a 13,000-kilometer (8,100-mile) flight on its subsequent migration final year, researchers say. But Guinness has but to acknowledge that feat.

Woehler mentioned researchers didn’t know whether or not the newest fowl, identified by its satellite tv for pc tag 234684, flew alone or as a part of a flock.

“There are so few birds that have been tagged, we don’t know how representative or otherwise this event is,” Woehler mentioned.

“It may be that half the birds that do the migration from Alaska come to Tasmania directly rather than through New Zealand or it might be 1%, or it might be that this is the first it’s ever happened,” he added.

Adult birds depart Alaska sooner than juveniles, so the tagged fowl was unlikely to have adopted extra skilled vacationers south, Woehler mentioned.

Woehler hopes to see the fowl as soon as moist climate clears within the distant nook of Tasmania, the place it’ll fatten up having lost half its physique weight on its journey.

The bar-tailed godwit is not the one fowl to journey extraordinarily lengthy distances.

Last year, a uncommon Steller’s sea eagle was noticed in Massachusetts, greater than 5,000 miles away from its dwelling in Asia.

And a 2015 research decided that blackpoll warblers — that are tiny, forest songbirds — make long-range transoceanic voyage stretching up to 1,721 miles.

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