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Small Bird Astounds Scientists With 11,200km Flight

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the yeah-but-in-miles-it's-much-shorter dept.

Earth 99

Zeb writes "Scientists are marveling over a small female bar-tailed godwit somewhere in New Zealand who has a world record for non-stop flying — an epic 11,200 kilometers. A major international study into the birds has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and it offers an explanation as to why the godwits fly so far from Alaska to New Zealand in a single bound. The birds flew non-stop for up to and covered more than 11,200km. The flight path shows the birds did not feed en route and would be unlikely to sleep." The linked Wikipedia entry claims an even longer trip record, of 11,570 kilometers.

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99 comments

I just flew in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510685)

...and boy are my arms tired.

Re:I just flew in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510765)

You're not supposed to jerk it in mid flight. Trust me. I'm an expert.

Re:I just flew in... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510883)

ur a jerk at any point in the flight. when not on a flight, too, come to that.

Re:I just flew in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511365)

That makes you the bad-pun fuckwit.

longest (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510711)

longest first pooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooost

Re:longest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25514409)

Shortest penis!

But did the scientists really have to blame Palin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510747)

"We believe it flew so far to get away from the state's governor and her anti-bird policies."

I think the question really is... (5, Funny)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510767)

African or european?

Re:I think the question really is... (0)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510845)

African godwits are non-migratory.

Re:I think the question really is... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511071)

Not true. The Limosa lapponica lapponica migrates to Europe and Africa.

Yay I get to say it! (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511669)

*whooooosh* (btw dominator, that was a monty python reference you responded to)

Re:Yay I get to say it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511811)

Um, is your head smaller on one side than the other? I'm just trying to figure out how you could get the first joke and not the second. (I'm not saying it was funny.)

When you're king, you've got to know these things. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512415)

*whooooosh* (btw Hojima, that was also a monty python reference you responded to)

Re:When you're king, you've got to know these thin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512897)

Damn, I must have missed that scene or forgot it over all these years.

Re:When you're king, you've got to know these thin (2, Funny)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512939)

*Whoooosh* (btw zippthorne, no one expects the Spanish inquisition)

Re:I think the question really is... (1)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511013)

And could it make such a long journey with a coconut clutched in its claws?

Re:I think the question really is... (1, Funny)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511839)

It could grip it by the husks!

Re:I think the question really is... (3, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512189)

It's not a question of where it grips it, it's a simple matter of weight-ratio!

Re:I think the question really is... (1)

FreeFull (1043860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515865)

The true questions are, why would it want to carry a coconut on the journey? Where would it get the coconut from?

In order to maintain air speed velocity... (1)

mlenord (1205902) | more than 5 years ago | (#25520067)

...the bird will need to beat its wings forty-three times every second, right?

Re:I think the question really is... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511125)

Huh? I-- I don't know that. Auuuuuuuugh!

Re:I think the question really is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25514347)

Thank God at least somebody got the reference.

Efficiency (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510775)

How do they store enough energy?
br>Anyone qualified to offer guesses for the amount of energy required?

Re:Efficiency (4, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510821)

The upper limit would be their weight in calories of fat (unless you count energy that they capture from the wind or whatever as 'required'). Apparently, a large female weighs about 1.4 pounds, which is about 4,900 Calories (kcals...).

Figure in that they are made out of stuff that they won't use up and it seems likely that it is some fraction of that.

Re:Efficiency (4, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511295)

Long-distance migratory birds can stock up for flights by putting on fat roughly up to their lean weight, so a 630g godwit may only weigh about 315g at the end of its migration. Roughly, you're looking at about 2500kcals burned during the eight day flight, which is astonishing for an animal with about 1% of the weight of a human. This is about 0.0036kcal/second, or approximately 15 watts. Elite human athletes can produce about 6 watts per kg of body mass, while this bird can sustain 30 watts/kg for over a week.

Re:Efficiency (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511619)

Hardly surprising; an elite human is barely comparable to the most out-of-shape bird..

Re:Efficiency (2, Informative)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511931)

No kidding. See this reference about engineering human-powered flight: http://www.mech.ubc.ca/~hph/faq.htm#14 [mech.ubc.ca]

"We have built our own test rig that measures power output of a pilot over a minute duration. We have plotted the results of numerous potential pilots against their weight. A successful candidate is one that falls above a power requirement curve (power vs. weight). ... We have had people vomit after these one-minute tests. In similar tests in the United States they have had one person have a mild heart attack."

And that's for one minute of (theoretical) flight... incredible.

Re:Efficiency (3, Informative)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512153)

You are familiar with that whole square-cube thing [wikipedia.org], right?

Birds are amazing athletes, but there's a reason why the largest flying species is around 20 kilos.

Re:Efficiency (2, Interesting)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513541)

Yes, and allometric scaling too. I was not suggesting that birds and humans are directly comparable.

I was blown away simultaneously by two awesome facts; 1. that human-powered flight is achievable at all; 2. that it is just-barely achievable and attempting it is dangerous for even a top-notch athlete. These facts are simultaneously a signature of our human limitations and technological progress, and deserve imho to be mentioned.

Re:Efficiency (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515065)

Birds are amazing athletes, but there's a reason why the largest flying species is around 20 kilos.

Now imagine how impressive the largest pterosaurs must have been...

Re:Efficiency (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515245)

FTS:
When training for Ironman Canada, he had a professional nutritionist tell him he would never be able to train hard enough on a low protein vegetarian diet. The race went really well, so he took the advice with a grain of salt.

Very funny.

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25513267)

I think that the bird might have been breathing all the way during the flight ... I'm guessing that all that nice oxygen has to be taken into account for some parts of the energy extraction process. But my biology is too far away: does breathing only acts as a 'catalizer' ?

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510833)

Hybird engines.

Re:Efficiency (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511173)

(-1, Pedantic), I know, but hybrid drive systems are only more efficient in very specific conditions (wildly fluctuating load, power source that is substantially more efficient when running at full throttle than at part throttle). In any other situation they're a net loss, and even in ideal circumstances the gains available directly from non-plugin hybrid systems aren't that impressive.

For an endurance flight a well tuned Diesel cycle engine would probably be the pick of choice. Well, that or one powered by bugs and breadcrumbs.

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511307)

No. +1 funny.

The post had nothing to do with your so called 'hybrid drive systems'. The quote was:

hybird engines.

   

It's the guy's fault (4, Funny)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510805)

It's because the male birds refused to stop and ask directions, of course. Then, when they arrived at their destinations thousands of kilometers off course, they simply claimed it was where they *wanted* to go in the first place. Now, they have to fly back there every year, or admit they were wrong in the first place. Much easier to fly 11,200 kilometers twice a year.

Re:It's the guy's fault (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510915)

Ah stereotypes, one more bastation of hate that we must overcome to achieve some peace in this world. It may seem just like a silly joke, but these are the type of things will continue to propagate hate and war across the world. ha ha, nice, I've got a joke.


Q: Why do Danish people never play hide and seek?
A: Nobody wants to look for them.

Re:It's the guy's fault (0, Flamebait)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512429)

Ahh, political correctness gone mad. You must be a city dweller right? Born in a city, raised in a city and will die in a city. Problem is that none of you like it when somebody stands out. Now, you all like to say the reason for it is the greater good of the human race. But really, you're all squabbling for the scraps and if somebody stands out from the mediocre, you jump in and pull them down. When your friends go home from some party, you and whoever you live with start bitching about somebody that had something to say, right? We need stereotypes. You claim it as a manifestation of hate, but it is not. It is how we calm ourselves that jobs we don't want to do, nor the ones we don't want to know about, are being done. If you take personal offense to a joke, state that you don't like it. Don't try and point out the doom of humanity and it's relationship to an abstraction. Don't be such a pussy.

Re:It's the guy's fault (1)

KagatoLNX (141673) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513467)

We don't need stereotypes. They're an excuse not to think. We do not need excuses not to think.

Isn't a stereotype in direct contradiction with standing out? You seem to support people standing out. That pretty much breaks the stereotypes--oh, wait, you say that we need them for something.

Save your city versus country wedge for politics--exactly where they are used for exactly the wrong reasons. I was born in Missouri, spent twenty-five years there, and have spent plenty of time in big coastal cities and small Midwestern towns. People like you just can't take criticism. Tap into some of that cowboy bravado, grow a spine, and stop bitching at people for fitting your "politically correct" stereotype.

You claim that "politically correct" people are trying to "tear people down". No, they're just telling you that you're an asshole.

Re:It's the guy's fault (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514291)

I don't necessarily agree with stereotypes, but I acknowledge that we need them. See, the nerds make sure that the Internet works and that our computers can connect to it. The engineers build the electronics that make the stuff work. All of it stereotype, and all of them are individuals that are standing out from the pack. I fail to see the contradiction. You or I may not see that as a stereotype, but I'd bet you that people that have little to do with computers see it that way. The political correctness has gotten to the point that governments are starting to censor what we are and are not exposed to. It started with the little things. I'd prefer to adhere to a common decency, where common sense is applied. Now, that's going to vary from culture to culture and even subcultures, and that's good. The great, great grandparent made a joke. It was funny. Now, I don't know the sex of the person that made it, but it shouldn't matter. It was posted for the amusement of others and probably the poster as well. They don't deserve to be shot down. One person finds it offensive so we should all suffer? So much for democratic way. I see more and more examples of the minority dictating terms to the majority. On a long enough timescale, that path will converge to a pond with no ripples ... how boring.

Re:It's the guy's fault (1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515303)

I only read part of your wall o' texts, but living in north dakota my whole life kinda throws your city garbage out the window.


I don't see what being "politically correct" has to do with plain sexism and racism.


(protip:throw some html in, it makes it a bit easier to read, instead of looking like just another asshole... whoops, now there I go... whoopsy-daisy.

Re:It's the guy's fault (1)

Down8 (223459) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519097)

Being an asshole is an inalienable right.

A right which I make constant use of.

-bZj

Lance Armstrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510815)

From the article:

The birds would have gobbled up energy at some eight times their resting basic metabolic rate (BMR) during their week-long exertion, he said.

Professional cyclists an only manage about five times BMR for a few hours.

"Lance Armstrong would be no competition for these birds," he said.

When he doesn't do doping, of course.

Re:Lance Armstrong (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511209)

The comparison's stupid in the first place. We're talking about a human weighing close to 100kg, vs a bird weighting a few hundred grams at most. It's like saying that a 1/8th scale Tamiya R/C truck has a power-to-weight ratio and fuel economy 100x better than that of a Jeep. Of course it does, it's a foot and a friggin' half long. ><

Wait... (2, Interesting)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510835)

They were "unlikely to sleep?"

So Joe Scientist thinks there's a remote possibility that the birds napped en route during a "nonstop, over-water route?" WTF? Mind you, I'd pay good money to see it happen, but I really can't figure out how that would work.

Re:Wait... (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510875)

It's within the realm of possibility that they do sleep but some automatic functioning of wing-beating still occurs. Kind of like sleep-walking, except sleep-flying.

Re:Wait... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512845)

Some birds can indeed sleep while flying, most famously swifts and albatrosses. Some birds also have the capacity to go half-asleep: they close one eye and let that half of the brain rest (Google "unilateral eye closure birds sleep").

Re:Wait... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513757)

There would always be the hazard that they would end up flying in circles or crash into the ground. If birds really do have 'magnetic vision' then that would prevent the first problem. If they can accurately determine changes in velocity, then that would avoid the second problem.
But then, how would they avoid flying into each other? Someone has to keep their eyes open.

Re:Wait... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517259)

Sort of like us carrying on breathing or our heart beating while we sleep. In fact, perhaps these birds hook their wing muscles up to their hearts, and dream of lovey things.
I think I've hit on it. Someone, give me a grant. A mill or two (GBP preferred but EUR or even USD accepted)

Re:Wait... (4, Insightful)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510909)

In the animal kingdom, its quite common for creatures to go without what we would consider restful sleep. Cows sleep standing, sharks sleep while swimming, why couldn't these birds manage some form of rest while flying?

Re:Wait... (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511169)

I tried telling the cop that when he asked me why I had turned my car off and was drafting off an 18-wheeler. I don't think he saw the correlation.

Re:Wait... (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511273)

In the animal kingdom, its quite common for creatures to go without what we would consider restful sleep. Cows sleep standing, sharks sleep while swimming, why couldn't these birds manage some form of rest while flying?

That's because they sleep differently.
Sharks' swim center is in their spinal cord, meaning they can sleep while swimming. Birds (as it seems to be understood) can put half their brain to sleep while flying, but are unable to enter REM sleep since that entails a loss of muscle tone. Birds can sleep standing up because their tendons lock their claws into position, even while asleep. Cows & horses nap while standing, but do not enter full REM sleep unless lying down, since they need muscle tone to stand.

Cows, horses and birds all need REM sleep at some point or they show signs of sleep deprivation.

All this is AFAIK and YMMV

Re:Wait... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514573)

Birds can sleep standing up because their tendons lock their claws into position, even while asleep.

That's nothing!!! The Norwegian Blue Parrot [wikipedia.org] can remain standing whilst asleep, pining for the fjords, or even dead. A truly remarkable bird. Beautiful plumage.

Re:Wait... (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511279)

Fascinating. I never thought about it that way. And now I just can't get stop thinking about never-sleeping, never-stopping, Michael Myers-esque sharks that never stop coming towards you.

You can just rock me to sleep tonight, mister!

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511681)

why couldn't these birds manage some form of rest while flying?

because they fall and die?

Re:Wait... (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513005)

The dolphin is the one that fascinates me. While they can enter something similar to regular sleep as we understand it, they usually shut down one brain hemisphere at a time, keeping one eye open watching for predators.

Re:Wait... (2, Interesting)

daveb (4522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510921)

>So Joe Scientist thinks there's a remote possibility that the birds napped en route during a "nonstop, over-water route?" WTF?

I guess it depends on how you define sleep. We all can do some stuff in our sleep (breathing for e.g.). I'm no biologist but I *guess* an animal could sleep and have wings set to the same automatic response as breathing, waking up when it got tricky (turbulance etc).

But this does look interesting in terms of data delivery over avian carriers [faqs.org]. Tiny birds ... I guess we'd be talking small MTU.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511027)

Birds can turn off("sleep") half of their brain at a time, so I figure they could be half-sleeping alternatively like a dual core processor.

Re:Wait... (3, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511267)

I've seen birds (sooty terns) that can spend years in the air. I've been told that they can let one part of their brain sleep while they use the other part to fly. They only need to land when they build a nest and lay eggs. You can go outside at night and see them soaring in the air currents.

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25515797)

sooty terns

We are African Terns you insensitive clod!

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512931)

I have a friend who's a long-distance cyclist, and he told me that he HAD actually dozed off when biking to school early in the morning, without getting into an accident.

Re:Wait... (1)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25513411)

I remember hearing that it was the (Japanese was what I heard but maybe Koreans or PLA?) army trained its soldiers to "put their minds to sleep" while doing routine drills. From what I recall only parts of the mind need to "go to sleep", the only parts remaining awake are the ones responsible for basic movement and watching out for stuff, I guess just enough to make him go into something like REM without the REM...

Of course I only have one source and I doubt the Slashdot crowd would accept it. But it does help rest the mind and allows you to keep going, even though the body is still worked (and I guess they do it to build resistance? poor bird probably naps a week when it gets there, or eats a fat load...)

Re:Wait... (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514615)

These birds [knvvl.nl] (gierzwaluw in Dutch; I don't know the English name but it's a kind of swallow) sleep every night, but they fly almost for a year each year. They only land to lay eggs and raise their young. They feed and even mate in the air. I've been told that in the evening they fly to extreme heights and then sleep for a few minutes, falling down. They wake up before there is even a remote chance they will hit the ground, and fly up again.

Swifts (5, Informative)

n0rr1s (768407) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510869)

The record is actually for flying the furthest in eight days across the Pacific, not the furthest non-stop flight ever as implied by the headline. Which is not surprising - the common swift, for example, can spend years in the air without landing. http://www.commonswift.org/records_english.html [commonswift.org]

Nonetheless, these birds are still impressive.

Re:Swifts (3, Insightful)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511343)

The distinction seems to be feeding; swifts can feed while they continue flying, whereas these birds are waders and can't feed until they stop. It's like the furthest airplane flight record distinction of refueling or not.

Where's all the enablers at??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510983)

Looks like the godwit didn't get the memo that it's okay to fail, its to far for them to fly and they're so little that it's just not possible and the only way they can succeed is with a government program. Stupid little birds.

Re:Where's all the enablers at??? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511229)

Yeah, like those bumblebees that actually can't fly, and wouldn't if anyone would be so kind as to tell them what they do every day is impossible... ;)

Re:Where's all the enablers at??? (1)

argee (1327877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511903)

So 60's. I remember this. Some scholarly scientists published a study that proved that bumblebees can't fly. Of course, nobody could tell the bumblebees, so they continued flying.

Re:Where's all the enablers at??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512149)

So 60's. I remember this. Some scholarly scientists published a study that proved that bumblebees can't fly. Of course, nobody could tell the bumblebees, so they continued flying.

No, there was nothing like that published in the '60s. It's a story that goes way back to the '30s and is essentially hearsay.
http://www.math.niu.edu/~rusin/known-math/98/bees [niu.edu]

However, in response to the myth, physicists went out of their way to prove that bumblebee flight *is* aerodynamically sound:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March00/APS_Wang.hrs.html [cornell.edu]

That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (2, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511069)

Admit it... you had to look it up (unless you're in physics or live outside the USA)

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511187)

I think to most people 7000 miles says as little as 11000 km. THey are so big that you stop imagening how big it is.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511349)

THey are so big that you stop imagening how big it is.

That's right, ladies.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (1)

Deimos24601 (904979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515811)

THey are so big that you stop imagening how big it is.

That's what she said.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (0, Flamebait)

dafrazzman (1246706) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511219)

Some people actually find the metric system more convenient and intuitive. The fact that you feel the need to convert to and declare the mileage shows that you probably neither work in physics nor live outside the US, so I don't see why you feel the need to look down on others who don't have that useless conversion memorized.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511935)

I don't know why you think that OP was a crack about people who did know metric instead at people who didn't know metric nor why you seem to have taken it personally.

Some people just have a chip on their shoulder, I guess.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512225)

That's great. That's why the original article is in km. Are you complaining that someone else would convert it to miles? Why? Why do you care what units other people use if you're happy with your own?

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (2, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512563)

Indeed. There are two natural, common units when talking about distances of that scale. Kilometers (~10,000 of them takes you from pole to equator) and Nautical Miles (1 minute of arc each)

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25513665)

Both of those units vary depending on location and time since the Earth is not static. They are just as arbitrary as the size of an average man's foot. The only natural units are those based on ease of manipulation(e.g. dozen, byte, degrees). Anything based on physical properties is arbitrary.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511625)

Check out which countries don't use Metric, you'll find the US keeps good company.

Re:That's ~6959 miles for the metric impaired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512451)

Check out which countries don't use Metric, you'll find the US keeps good company.

For specific definitions of the word "good", I suppose.

Myanmar and Liberia aren't exactly leaders on the world stage, except perhaps for crime and human rights violations... (hmm, something else they share with the US? :)

Snipe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511091)

That's not a godwit! It's a Snipe! Where's my burlap sack?

I must say (3, Funny)

rarel (697734) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511157)

It's the first time I see the Godwit law apply right from the summary.

Oh wait...

Highly dubious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511203)

Typos on the source?
Inconsistent distances in the Wikipedia entry?
Original source? I went down 3 levels and never found any clarification.

Random thoughts inspired by this bird (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511359)

Quite humbling, I think. The other day I was thinking about how I don't have those dreams about flying anymore. I guess it's part of coming of age? In any case, sometimes I wish I was able to fly like a bird - and imagine being able to do so for thousands of kilometers (though the godwit does land, from time to time, I think).

And the other thing that came to my mind: the world is full of wonderful creatures that would be a shame if disappeared because of the changes in the environment - mostly destructive - that are happening.

The birds flew non-stop for up to and... (1)

colourmyeyes (1028804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511473)

"The birds flew non-stop for up to and..."

Up to what? I assume this is supposed to be a time. Also, these birds are awesome.

Wikipedia is not a scientific journal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25513655)

Wikipedia is not a reputable scientific journal. It frustrates me that people are beginning to accept anything they read in Wikipedia as fact instead of a tool to direct them to genuine sources of information. It reminds me of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. (1) "the hitch hikers guide does not claim to be accurate, but, it says, where it is inaccurate it is at least wildly inaccurate" (2) "work at the guide tends to get when some passing strange happens to walk in of the afternoon and sees something worth doing"

Where's the research paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25514837)

I've had a hunt through NCBI, Google Scholar and the Proceedings of the Royal Society B site, and can't find the paper. One news article suggested a publication date of October 21, and a few articles mention the researcher 'Robert (Bob) Gill' as leading the investigation.

mebe... (1)

Justabit (651314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515137)

Could have been a combination of Thermals, updroughts, gliding and that thing they do in rollerball where they slingshot the other person between 2 of them.

Double check the tracker (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25530005)

Are they sure that the bird made the 11.2km flight-- and not a 0.1 km flight to the nearest airport, and into the intake port of a plan making a 11.2km flight?
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