Photo by P.J. Turgeon
Blackpoll Warblers astound!
Scientists in Ontario and Vermont have discovered with irrefutable evidence that the tiny North American songbird (Dendroica striata) migrates 1,500 miles (2,400 kms) non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean, from New England and eastern Canada, to Puerto Rico and Cuba and then on to South America. By fitting Blackpoll Warblers with tiny geolocaters (see photo below), scientists from the University of Guelph, in Ontario, and from Vermont Center for EcoStudies have proven that the Blackpoll Warbler completes the longest known overseas journey of any land bird. Chris Rimmer, an ornithologist at the Vermont Centre for EcoStudies and co-author of the study, said: " There is no longer any doubt that the blackpoll undertakes one of the most audacious migrations of any bird on earth". The challenge for the blackpoll is of course not just making the journey, but doing it without stopping. Stopping would result in a fatal water landing. Ryan Norris of Guelph University has been quoted saying "It's a fly-or-die journey". Many songbirds, including blackpolls are experiencing dramatic population declines for a number of reasons. Blackpolls, because of their life or death migration, are at greater peril than all the songbirds that take an over-land continental route.
Photo by Vermont Center for EcoStudies
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