The News -
as recorded by someone who has little or no interest in what is going on in the outside world....
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Bar-tailed Godwit creates new record
A Bar-tailed Godwit has achieved a new record for non-stop, muscle-powered flight, flying from Alaska to New Zealand in eight days. A study published in October reports that godwits can fly as many as 7,242 miles without stopping in their annual fall migration from Alaska to New Zealand. The previous record, set by an Eastern Curlew, was a 4,000-mile trip from eastern Australia to China.
The birds flew for five to nine days without rest, a few landing on South Pacific islands before resuming their trips, which were monitored by satellite in 2006 and 2007. As a feat of sustained exercise unrelieved by sleeping, eating or drinking, the Godwit's migration appears to be without precedent in the annals of vertebrate physiology.
As astounding as the feat is, it actually represents a highly evolved solution to a problem. The non-stop, over-water route is free of predators and substantially shorter than a hopscotching route down the eastern coast of Asia, which is the alternative. Landing and eating -- literally, refuelling -- would expose the birds to disease and parasites when they are probably somewhat immune-suppressed. Refuelling also would add weeks to the trip and itself take energy. All in all, flying non-stop across most of the north-south span of the Pacific Ocean is the safest thing to do. The death rate during the migration is unknown but presumably low, as the population of bar-tailed godwits, estimated at 100,000, has been stable and long-lasting.
"This system would not have perpetuated itself if mortality were a big problem," said Robert E. Gill Jr., a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, who headed the study, published in October by The Royal Society. (Top marks to anyone who spotted my photo is of a Black-tailed Godwit; I haven’t got a picture of a Bar-tailed Godwit!)
This is a cheat's blog; a coward's blog. I have taken the conscious decision that it will not be about a world in chaos. The real news which has an impact on the lives of millions is that in which the Four Horsemen appear - war, famine, conquest and death - or in which the Gods have taken it upon themselves to punish folk through natural disasters and disease.... I shall leave such headlines to the BBC and Sky News. Not all my posts will be positive by any means but I readily acknowledge that I have made no attempt to give a balanced view of the news that is genuinely important in this world.
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)