The extraordinary flight of a bird that flew from Alaska to New Zealand in 11 days without a rest |  Expert Zone |  Climate and environment

The extraordinary flight of a bird that flew from Alaska to New Zealand in 11 days without a rest | Expert Zone | Climate and environment

In September 2020, a new record was set for the longest non-stop flight a living creature has made on Earth. A sample from a lost bird The black-tailed needleLemosa Labonica Bauri) He flew from Alaska to New Zealand traveling 12,200 km in 11 days of non-stop flight! The population sample of the Alaskan breeding species has not stopped, neither for eating nor for rest. It crossed the Pacific Ocean from north to south, at speeds of between 40 and 100 kilometers per hour, to spend the winter in New Zealand.

In 2009, a female of the same species tagged with a satellite transmitter was already spotted on a 11,680-kilometer route for an eight-day non-stop flight, also between her breeding area in the Yukon Delta and Winter New Zealand. A record took 11 years to be smashed: It was surpassed by a male marked in Alaska at 520 kilometers. For these trips to be successful, they require extraordinary physical and steering capabilities. Its wingspan is about 80 cm and weight 190-250 grams, which can reach 400-640 grams when loaded with fat at the beginning of the migration. Currently, the physiology of these immigrants is being investigated: birds with the metabolism of a long-distance runner … in Usain Bolt’s body.

The same species, black-tailed Marilyn, is found in Europe, and along with other species of waders they also make unusual trips. Birds from Central Europe or the Siberian tundra cross the Iberian Peninsula and are able to make non-stop flights for 3-4 days, at an altitude of more than 3000 meters, to reach winter areas in tropical Africa (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali). In addition, in our geography, millions of migratory birds, many of which are very small (6-30 grams), cross the Sahara Desert every year (more than 2000 kilometers of rocks and sand) on marathons of 2-4 days, as evidenced by the distinction of birds Small geolocation devices.

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Bird migration is one of nature’s most fascinating natural phenomena. Emerging as a strategy for the seasonal survival of resources, migration requires a careful adjustment between the movement of migratory birds and the productive cycles of nature, and thus, over thousands of years, the best adaptations have been chosen to be at the right time in the right place. As a result, aerodynamic, light but resistant body structures were chosen, and their physiology was adapted to prolonged efforts with minimal energy expenditures or exceptional steering capabilities, among others.

Until recently, most of these trips were not well known and nurtured all kinds of myths and legends: swallows that buried themselves in mud during the winter, red beginnings that turned into robins in the spring, or hawks that turned into cuckoos. The emergence and disappearance of species from an area posed a complex puzzle that was difficult to explain. It was only so a century ago when birds began to be marked with rings, allowing the origins and destinations of these travelers to be linked for the first time. And it wasn’t until recently. When using modern satellite and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies The miniaturization of the components of these devices allows better detail to reach the entrances and generalities of these flights. The results are surprising, the excursions … extraordinary.

The longest journeys (of which there is evidence) made by a living creature on Earth correspond to the Arctic tern (Heaven is sterna). This seabird weighs about 100 gramsAble to travel more than 80,000 km year-round, On their voyages back and forth between the arctic breeding grounds and the winter lands of Antarctica, they crossed the Atlantic Ocean from north to south twice a year. In the Netherlands, geolocators, terns, arrived on the shores of Australia on their migrations, and returned the following spring to the breeding colony in the Netherlands. Bearing in mind that Arctic terns are long-lived birds and can live for more than 20 years, it is estimated that many individuals are able to travel distances of over a million kilometers throughout their lives. A significant stretch, given that to go from Earth to the Moon, you would have to cross 384,400 kilometers.

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Alejandro Onropia He is a biologist and scientific coordinator for the Migres Foundation

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