Feather-power's secret - An 11,000 km record

Pers / media: OnderzoekPopular


Some of the tens of thousands of migratory shorebirds now returning to New Zealand after the summer breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere have a secret that researchers are keen to unravel.

The latest thinking among ornithologists is that bar-tailed godwits from Alaska make the journey nonstop, a distance of about 11,000 km.


There is no firm evidence that the birds do fly without stopping over a distance farther than a passenger jet can fly without refuelling, but the suspicion that they do is high.


One of the world's foremost experts on migratory birds, Dr Theunis Piersma, of the Netherlands, is in New Zealand to meet colleagues and attend a welcoming ceremony for the birds at the Miranda Shorebird Centre, on the west coast of the Firth of Thames, on Sunday.