Tuesday, February 01, 2011

ReTurn(ing) stone

The wonders of modern science. A Turnstone ringed with a small, less than one gram, geolocator has been captured in successive years at its wintering grounds in Australia. Downloading the data from the locator each time means that researchers have been able to plot the migration route taken by the bird in following years.
The data shows that the birds initially fly 7,600 miles non-stop in about 6 days to Taiwan where they rest and feed up, before taking on the second non-stop stage of 5,000km to their breeding grounds in Siberia. Interesting among the routes taken is that there is variation between years.
Given that Turnstone can live for up to 20years there is scope to collect yet more data as they, the birds, undertake their average 500,000 total miles flight in a lifetime.


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