- The Godwits' breeding grounds are in
- They migrate from their breeding grounds to other areas around the world, including
Australiaand , after the breeding season New Zealand
- The migration from
Alaskato is non-stop, is about 11,500km and lasts approximately 8 days (See the famous story on E7 here). New Zealand
- Birds can double their mass before departure and have about 55% body fat
- They burn their body fat during migration (they don’t eat during the migration south) and break down muscle proteins to supplement water loss through respiration
- It is thought that birds can switch off part of their brain while flying, effectively having a partial-sleep while they fly.
- Northward migration from
New Zealandis via Koreaor , but these regions’ tidal flats are being seriously threatened through land reclamation China
This week we tried to catch some birds again with mist nets at Foxton. It was my third night at it and previously we had caught only two terns and no godwits. The conditions were perfect, an overcast evening (making it nice and dark), relatively still and a super high tide set for 11.38pm - this was hopefully going to force the birds up towards our nets. Unfortunately, by 2am we had only caught one unbanded juvenile godwit. While I always enjoy the night’s activities the hit-and-miss nature of the mist netting at Foxton Estuary (putting up the nets in strategic positions and hoping the birds fly into them) is a strange beast – it comes with no guarantees. A further attempt on Friday led to a similar lack of captures. Patience and persistence are two virtues that biologists working in the field obviously need in great measure!
Phil doing measurements on a godwit
This Wednesday I head off the famous