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Biol Lett. 2015 Apr;11(4):20141045. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.1045.

Transoceanic migration by a 12 g songbird.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA wdeluca@eco.umass.edu.
2
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
3
Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Norwich, VT 05055, USA.
4
Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, Washington, DC 20008, USA.
5
Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada B4P 2R6.
6
Bird Studies Canada-Long Point Bird Observatory, Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada N0E1M0.

Abstract

Many fundamental aspects of migration remain a mystery, largely due to our inability to follow small animals over vast spatial areas. For more than 50 years, it has been hypothesized that, during autumn migration, blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) depart northeastern North America and undertake a non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean to either the Greater Antilles or the northeastern coast of South America. Using miniaturized light-level geolocators, we provide the first irrefutable evidence that the blackpoll warbler, a 12 g boreal forest songbird, completes an autumn transoceanic migration ranging from 2270 to 2770 km (mean ± s.d.: 2540 ± 257) and requiring up to 3 days (62 h ± 10) of non-stop flight. This is one of the longest non-stop overwater flights recorded for a songbird and confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet.

KEYWORDS:

Atlantic Ocean; Setophaga striata; blackpoll warbler; geolocator

PMID:
25832815
PMCID:
PMC4424611
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2014.1045
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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