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(AP) — A young bar-tailed godwit appears to have set a non-stop distance record for migratory birds by flying at least 13,560 kilometers (8,435 miles) from Alaska to the Australian state of Tasmania, a bird expert said Friday.
The bird was tagged as a hatchling in Alaska during the Northern Hemisphere summer with a tracking GPS chip and tiny solar panel that enabled an international research team to follow its first annual migration across the Pacific Ocean, Birdlife Tasmania convenor Eric Woehler said. Because the bird was so young, its gender wasn’t known.
Aged about five months, it left southwest Alaska at the Yuko-Kuskokwim Delta on Oct. 13 and touched down 11 days later at Ansons Bay on the island of Tasmania’s northeastern tip on Oct. 24, according to data from Germany’s Max Plank Institute for Ornithology. The research has yet to be published or peer reviewed.
The bird started on a southwestern course toward Japan then turned southeast over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, a map published by New Zealand’s Pukoro Miranda Shorebird Center shows.
The bird was again tracking southwest when it flew over or near Kiribati and New Caledonia, then past the Australian mainland before turning directly west for Tasmania, Australia’s most southerly state. The satellite trail showed it covered 13,560 kilometers (8,435 miles) without stopping.