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Two Godwits reach Alaska

Alaskan Bar-tailed Godwits are the long-distance athletes of our migration series. Last year, one female Godwit completed a non-stop flight of 7,200 miles (11,000km) in 9 days, from Alaska right over the Pacific Ocean to New Zeland. Absolutely phenomenal!

This year, the Shorebird Research Project are determining whether male Godwits perform similarly heroic feats of endurance and news has come in that 2 of their tagged males that left New Zealand in March have now reached Alaska.

Lee Tibbitts from the Shorebird Research Project sent us this audio report.

Alaskan Bar-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwits in Alaska

2 male Alaskan Bar-tailed Godwits have made it to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska.

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Report information

Back in February, 9 Godwits were given electonic tags so we could track their epic migration. At the end of March, the Alaskan Bar-tailed Godwits made the 6000 mile flight from Miranda, New Zealand to the Yalu Jiang Nature Reserve on the border of China and North Korea. Having spent the last month replacing all their energy reserves here, they then set off on the second leg of their annual migration and are now in Alaska.

"Of the four male Bar-tailed Godwits that have been tagged, two have made it to the Yukon- Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska. Unfortunately, the other two NZ Godwits in Asia are currently off the air. Their transmitters stopped functioning a few weeks ago, probably due to battery failure. We are just not having the luck we had last year with this group.

Yes, it is a shame but at least we got some good information on the migration of the 2 males. And, we are going to get great information about the movements of non-breeders in New Zealand."

So, their current locations...

D8 is on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta at 60.300 N 164.142 W
D0 is also on the YKD at 60.084 N 164.459 W

The two Godwits will now start breeding and will stay put on inland breeding grounds with their chicks until July. At this point they will then all head as a group to the coast where they spend 2 months feeding up ready for departure in September and that vast non-stop flight home.

Where are the birds right now?

Find out on the Shorebird Research Project's map. And you can download a kmz file off the website (to be viewed in Google Earth) and check the position of the birds daily if you like.
There are also individual maps for each bird here.

Further Reading:

Next report: Waiting for Godwits
Last report: Nine tagged Godwits

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