Shorebird traveled from Australia to Alaska

Bar-tailed godwit

From ScienceDaily:

Scientists In Northern Alaska Spot A Shorebird Tagged 8,000 Miles Away

(Aug. 4, 2009) — Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientists studying shorebirds in western Arctic Alaska recently made a serendipitous discovery when they spotted a bar-tailed godwit with a small orange flag and aluminum band harmlessly attached to its legs. Further research revealed that scientists in Australia had banded the bird and attached the flag near Victoria – more than 8,000 miles away.

While banded birds are sometimes seen in the area where they were originally released, it is very rare to see them so far from a release site. The observation was made by WCS biologists Dr. Steve Zack and Joe Liebezeit….

Zack and Liebezeit also sighted a banded dunlin and semipalmated sandpiper both of which were originally marked and released by WCS scientists three years ago in nearby Prudhoe Bay, Alaska for a study testing to see if birds that winter in Asia are carrying highly pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza to North America. Semipalmated sandpipers migrate from South America, and dunlins migrate from Asia. So far, shorebirds have not been detected to carry H5N1 into North America.

Bar-tailed godwit: here.

Imagine a bird that every year has to fly non-stop for 10 days over 11,700 km of the open Pacific ocean between its breeding areas in Alaska and its wintering grounds in New Zealand. In Spring it returns north in two flights, from New Zealand to China (a mere 10,300 kms hop), then after refuelling for a month on the rich inter-tidal mudflats bordering the Yellow Sea, it flies a further 6,500 km to return to Alaska. Such is the annual story for some of the Bar-tailed godwits of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Then imagine what happens when that vital mudflat in China or South Korea is suddenly not there anymore: here.

Migratory Birds Not Picky About Their Rest Stops, Study Finds: here.

Australian brush turkeys: here.

Heat wave killing endangered birds in Western Australia: here.

12 thoughts on “Shorebird traveled from Australia to Alaska

  1. Bird-watching club takes on sugar giant

    Letea Cavander | 21st September 2009

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    Do you think the Bundaberg Sugar Moore Park Beach residential development will harm the local environment?

    * Yes
    * No
    * or view results

    Thank you for voting.



    This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

    BIRD watchers have warned rare rainforest birds will be wiped out of the area if the Bundaberg Sugar Moore Park Beach residential development goes ahead.

    Bundaberg Bird Observers Club president Trevor Quested has likened the development to “ignorant vandalism”.

    “But surely there is one councillor or a few councillors that want to preserve the environmental areas we have and people that keep them should be proud of saving the areas,” Mr Quested said.

    Bundaberg Sugar general manager for administration Rod Young said the development had been significantly modified to take into consideration the ecoological constraints.

    Bundaberg region Councillor Ross Sommerfeld said he was unwilling to form an opinion about the application until all the information was with council.

    “I will certainly be conscious of the concerns of any submitter,” he said.

    Mr Quested said that it was almost impossible for a bird-watching club to take on a multi-national company.

    “We know we are up against a very big firm,” he said.

    “They have solicitors and an agenda that can’t be stopped.”

    Rare species of birds, including the double-eyed fig-parrot, had been sighted in the area, Mr Quested said.

    Other birds on the endangered list that nest in the area include the black-breasted button quail.

    The development would have its main access points on Moore Park and Murdochs roads and lies between the company’s proposed sand mine land and Moore Park Beach.

    The application is for 128 houses and a small business. The land size of the blocks would start at 600sq m.

    Mr Young said the development had been designed to be respectful of the ecological value.

    Sections would be maintained as conservation areas, including wet lands, he said.

    “The Moore Park development in its current form is a respectful approach to the location and will facilitate the delivery of a diversity of housing stock for Moore Park and the greater Bundaberg region,” he said.

    The development would also generate a lot of jobs in the area, Mr Young said.

    However, developer Bill Moorhead said if he owned that section of land he would not touch it.

    “The area is a significant piece of coastal rainforest,” he said.

    “It’s the lungs of Moore Park, essentially.”

    Mr Moorhead has lodged a formal objection, along with six other submissions Bundaberg Regional Council had received on Friday.

    Cr Sommerfeld said there were a lot of factors that weighed into his decision-making process.

    “I’m not prepared to give an opinion until I have the information that is critical to the final decision,” he said.

    Bundaberg Sugar is holding information sessions for concerned residents in mid-November about the residential and sand mine development applications.


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