Headline, October 01 2022/ ''' '' THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL '' '''



7,000 MILES WITHOUT FOOD OR REST : HOW DOES this bird do it? New tracking abilities only increase wonder at the godwit's feat.

TENS OF thousands of bar-tailed godwits are taking advantage of favorable winds this month and next for their annual migration from the mud flats and muskeg of southern Alaska, south across the vast  expense of the Pacific Ocean, to the beaches of New Zealand and eastern Australia.

''The more I learn, the more amazing I find them,'' said Theunis Piersma, a professor of global flyaway ecology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and an expert in the endurance physiology of migratory birds. ''They are a total evolutionary success.''

The godwit's epic flight - the longest nonstop migration by any land bird - lasts from eight to 10 days and nights through pounding rain, high winds and other perils.

''You know where a bird is almost to the meter. You know how high it is; you know what it's doing; you know it's wingbeat frequency,'' Dr. Piersma said. ''It's opened a whole new world.''

The known distance record for a godwit migration is 13,000 kilometers, or nearly 8,080 miles. It was set last year by an adult male bar-tailed godwit with a tag code 4BBRW that encountered inclement weather on its way to New Zealand and veered off course to a more distant landing in Australia.

It had flapped its wings for 237 hours without stopping when it touched down. [It has left Alaska again and is en route to its southern destination.]

The globe-trotting birds are in search of an endless summer, and some 90,000 or so leave Alaska from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and environs, where they breed and raise their young.

Both Alaska and New Zealand are rich in foods that godwits like, especially the insects in Alaska for newly hatched chicks. And New Zealand has no predatory falcons, while Alaska offers secure habitat.

Once they reach New Zealand and the austral summer, the sleek birds - with mottled brown-and-white aerodynamic wings; cinnamon-colored breasts; long, slender beaks; and stilt-like legs - feed on glistening mud flats until March, when they begin their journey back north.

The birds are cherished by many New Zealanders. The cathedral at Christchurch used to ring its bells to welcome the birds, but an earthquake in 2011 toppled the bell tower. Another cathedral in the city of Nelson has taken over the task and will ring its bells for the birds this month.

''I tell people try exercising for nine straight days - not stopping, not eating, not drinking - to convey what's going on here,'' said Robert E. Gill Jr, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage who has studied the birds in Alaska since 1976. ''It stretches the imagination.''

Distances vary, but all told, in a year, the godwits cover some 30,000 kilometers, or more than 18,000 miles, because they take a less direct route to return north in March. They fly nonstop from New Zealand to China's Yellow Sea and its rich tidal flats, where they refuel, and then return to Alaska.

And they are proficient at the incredibly risky endeavour; the survival rate is more than 90 percent.

''It's not really like a marathon,'' said Christopher Guglielmo, an animal physiologist at Western University in London, Ontario, who studies avian endurance physiology. ''It's more like a trip to the moon.''

The journey of these ultra-endurance athletes is made possible by a suite of adaptations. Godwits are avian shape-shifters, endowed with an unusual plasticity. Their internal organs undergo a '' strategic restructuring '' before departure.

Gizzards, kidneys, livers and and guts shrink to lighten the load for the journey. Pectoral muscles grow to support the constant flapping the trip requires.

They are built for speed, with aerodynamic wings and missile-shaped bodies. The only baggage they carry is fat, after gobbling up insects, worms and mollusks that double their weight - from one to two pounds, or 450 grams to 900 grams - before embarking on their trip.

Because godwits use fat directly to fuel their flight, Dr. Guglielmo in one paper called them ''obese super athletes.''

Experts believe the godwits communicate frequently, especially about the timing and safety of their trip. Some suggest that they gather to create a kind of group mind that helps them make decisions on important matters and take votes on migration, among other things.

''It'll be near hurricane weather and a bird will be stamping around the estuary, calling, trying to get someone to go with her,'' said said Jessie Conklin an independent researcher at the University of Groningen who studies the species.

''I watch a bird do this for five days straight. Her clock said go., and everybody else said no. She got outvoted.''

She stayed, he said, ''but as soon as the weather turned, she was in the first flock out.''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Almighty God's unique creations, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jim Robbins.

With most loving and respectful dedication to Mankind, Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world :  wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!