Published on November 1, 2014
The bird bar-tailed godwits migrate from New Zealand eastern. They leave from Alaska in the northern autumn and before they get to their destination they follow a coastal route southwards that would allow them to feed and rest along the way. Now they take the direct route south across the central Pacific to New Zealand though. They cannot rest on water or feed at sea, so this 11,000- kilometre journey is the longest non-stop flight undertaken by any bird. The return to Alaska is taken in stages so they arrive in good condition to breed in May. During the Arctic summer (our winter) godwits breed and feed their chicks on insects and other arthropods. During their time at the estuary they feed mostly on sea worm, mud crabs and small shellfish. They find those kinds of food at the low tide and also they have to eat a lot to have the energy to do such a long flight. Scientists today still attach tags, such as metal bands, to track movement of animals and allow th e scientists to gather data, which is limited to the animal’s release and destination points. One of the technologies used to track animals is satellites. Each satellite in a network picks up electronic signals from a transmitter on an animal. Together, the signals from all satellites determine the precise location of the animal and it can also provide information such as physiological characteristics and habitat. In the other hand, those technologies have some issues, like because of their size and weight; electronic tags may create drag on some animals, slowing them down. As an example we have the New Caledonia tracking map.