You’ve heard us talk about the incredible migration of the rufa red knot, but did you know the Arctic tern undertakes the longest migration in the animal kingdom? Check out what the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge is doing to unravel some of the mysteries of its journey.
Arctic Terns have arguably the most impressive migration of any bird – they travel from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again just about every year of their lives. While we’ve known for a while where the terns travel, how they get there has been something of a mystery. Do they travel along the coastline? Do they take a direct route from Maine to the Antarctic coast? Do they do a marathon flight from pole to pole, or make pit stops along the way? These questions were nearly impossible to answer until very recently, for the simple reason that following a single tern (or even a flock of them) is nearly impossible. Terns are small birds – a little over 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces – so they can’t be equipped with heavy satellite tags. They also do mostof their traveling over water, so the odds of spotting a…
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