Tiny Arctic Terns' 43,000-mile Migration Tracked by Scientists

NUUK, Greenland, Jan. 12 (UPI) — Scientists in Greenland have followed the epic 43,000-mile migration of the tiny Arctic tern by fitting them with an even tinier tracking device.

In late summer, the 3.5-ounce Arctic terns fly south down the African and Brazilian coasts and return north for the summer by flying with the prevailing winds in a serpentine-shaped path up the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, said Carsten Egevang of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources.

Tracking devices weighing 0.05 ounces enabled Egevang and his team to follow the terns from North Pole to South Pole.

“The new thing is that we’ve now been able to track the bird during a full year of migration, all the way from the breeding grounds to the wintering grounds and back again,” Egevang told the BBC in a story published Tuesday.

The tracking devices, provided the British Antarctic Society, showed the terns stop in the middle of the North Atlantic to feed on zooplanton and fish before resuming their journey.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Categorized | Birds, Fish
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