As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Blackpoll migration mystery solved

Posted on: 09 Apr 2015

Scientists have shown that the suspected long-distance migration of Blackpoll Warblers over huge expanses of ocean does indeed take place every spring and autumn.

For decades, birders and scientists alike have pondered the mysterious disappearance of Blackpoll Warblers on the eastern coast of North America during autumn migration. It has long been suggested that the species flies directly over the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean and South America.

Thanks to miniaturised radio tracking devices, a team of American and Canadian researchers has solved this mystery, proving these small 12 g insectivorous passerines embark on non-stop flights averaging 1,580 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to their stop-over and wintering destinations in northern South America. These amazing birds are able to accomplish this flight by nearly doubling their weight prior to migration, and taking advantage of favourable weather conditions.

The project was led by a team of universities and organisations including: University of Massachusetts - Amherst, the University of Guelph, Vermont Center for Ecostudies, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre, Acadia University, and BirdLife Partner, Bird Studies Canada.

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