Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The new face of migration tracking

This appeared on the BBC news website today (from which I have 'borrowed' the picture). Sooty Shearwaters, electronically tagged with a 6 gram tag in New Zealand in early 2005, were recaptured again in the autumn and had their tags removed and analysed (the results now having been published). Now the good bit - some birds travelled 565 miles in a day, and dived to 68m (approx 220 ft) in order to find food.
The birds 'migrated' across the whole of the Pacific, in a figure of eight pattern, using global wind systems. Interesting was the finding that birds made 'stopovers' on their migration, staying in some locations for extended periods of time (Japan, Alaska and California) presumedly to feed.
Sooty Shearwaters are Red listed and this work is being undertaken to hopefully find out why numbers are declining. As the leading researcher stated 'if you're going to fly all that way to find food and you get there and there isn't any it's going to be pretty tough to get over it'.


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