Arctic tern’s epic journey mapped

BBC News – The researchers fitted the birds with tiny tracking devices to see precisely which routes the animals took on their 70,000km (43,000 miles) round trip. The study reveals they fly down either the African or Brazilian coasts but then return in an “S”-shaped path up the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The long-distance adventure is described in the US journal PNAS. “From ringing, we knew where the Arctic tern travelled,” said Carsten Egevang of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. “The new thing is that we’ve now been able to track the bird during a full year of migration, all the way from the breeding grounds to the wintering grounds and back again.” The avian world is known for its great migrations.

View abstract: “Tracking of Arctic terns Sterna paradisaea reveals longest animal migration” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Dec. 29, 2009).

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