The Mind-boggling Migrations of Bar-tailed Godwits

Bar-tailed Godwit; Photo Credit: Malcom Schuyl/Alamy


Migration by its nature is treacherous. If you’re a bird, every day on migration presents a minefield of potential surprises and changes -what happens when you’re exhausted after days of flying and there’s no food; the resting place you counted on is now a busy hotel beach; or you try to get some sleep after days of non-stop flying but are chased by dogs? Any of these happening, just one misstep, can have fatal consequences. Shorebirds are known for taking migration to a whole new, and somewhat shocking level, and until recently what some species actually did was a mystery. Thanks to new tracking technology, we are learning more and more about some of the incredible journeys these long-distance migrators make. Bar-tailed Godwits are known to make the longest distance non-stop flight – from Alaska to New Zealand over open water. From non-stop trans-pacific flight to the use of quantum entanglement, the more we learn about these uber distance migrators the more incredible they seem. This article in the New York Times does an excellent job of bringing these extraordinary journeys to life.