By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The blackpoll warbler accomplishes a mighty big feat for a such a little bird.
Scientists on Tuesday documented how this songbird that weighs half an ounce (12 grams) completes an arduous nonstop flight over the Atlantic Ocean from forests in New England and eastern Canada to Caribbean islands as it migrates each fall toward its South American wintering grounds.
By placing miniature backpacks with geolocators on the birds, the researchers determined they flew an average of nearly 1,600 miles (2,540 km) over two to three days.
"No other bird this size migrates for this long in one go. It is truly one of the most amazing migratory feats ever recorded," said ecologist Ryan Norris of the University of Guelph in Ontario, describing "a fly-or-die journey."