And boy, are its wings tired!
October 15, 2020 9:33 PM   Subscribe

(Parenthetically, "Bar-tailed Godwit" is my Wu-Tang Clan name.)
posted by Chitownfats at 11:05 PM on October 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

Among many incredible details here is the claim that the birds can go without sleep for 11 days. For sure they couldn’t do full REM sleep while in flight, but I would have imagined they might do uni-hemispheric slow wave sleep like various other birds.
posted by rongorongo at 12:16 AM on October 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I do not understand how something like this could happen. Ostensibly once a bird figures it out it is repeatable and teachable. But it seems so incredibly unlikely that a bird would just fly a few thousand miles over open ocean with no particular destination in mind and a) find any land at all; the Pacific is big, and islands in the Pacific are not, plus b) find basically the last stop before Antarctica rather than either stopping in Fiji or overshooting and freezing to death. Once again nature is incredible in its diversity.
posted by glunsforddavis at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Well birds have ways to navigate. And while this bird took the direct route that could be the result of ancestors who started flying over land (via Siberia, Japan, Indonesia, etc.) slowly rubber banding the route century by century as abilities matured until *boom* direct flight.
posted by Mitheral at 10:15 AM on October 16, 2020

11 days is truly staggering, but I already knew about godwits having an amazing migration; this is also remarkable:

Harper, an adult female great blue heron outfitted with a solar-powered GPS unit, has just flown nonstop for 68 hours on her southward migration!

This is a heron flying from Canada to Florida, and instead of going down overland, stopping a few times on the way, it flew for 68 hours over the open ocean.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:22 PM on October 16, 2020

flying from Canada to Florida [nonstop] for 68 hours over the open ocean

Is there a return flight? (Asking for an american)
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:52 PM on October 16, 2020

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