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Pluck
April 1, 2013 6:36 PM   Subscribe

Prior to their southward migration, the godwits eat up large, until up to 55 per cent of their body weight is fat. They then reduce the size of their gut, kidney and liver by up to 25 per cent to compensate for the added weight. Godwits are amazing migratory shorebirds who travel many thousands of miles at a go. Here's a brief documentary of people studying them (12 minutes on youtube + ad, shows invasive surgery). Here's some science on their flights (creative commons).

Here's people celebrating their flight (farewell, upcoming arrival). Here's Godwit sex (yt) and the sounds of Godwits (Hudsonian, Marbled, Black-tailed, Bar-tailed). Tangent: Here's a 2009 MeFi post on bird sounds in case you missed it.
posted by aniola (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
What is up with her eyes.
posted by Nomyte at 7:14 PM on April 1, 2013


I initially thought "godwit" was a really pisspoor anti-religious epithet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:19 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


They then reduce the size of their gut, kidney and liver by up to 25 per cent to compensate for the added weight.

Nature is just flat-out fascinating.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:10 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, 900 miles a day for 8 days in a row. Non-stop.

Just now I was trying to figure out how far a car would go in a day. An Internet search for 24 hours of driving turns up results on the unsafety of drowsy driving. These birds can go for days. Apparently another one of their superpowers is that they can fly during unihemispheric slow-wave sleep.
posted by aniola at 10:22 PM on April 1, 2013


I'm reminded of the fact that Australian pelicans do an extraordinary thing, at roughly decade long intervals. There's an awful lot that isn't understood about how this comes to pass. Full episode here.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:46 PM on April 1, 2013


And here I thought red knots were epically migratory.
posted by mollweide at 8:04 AM on April 2, 2013


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