Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hurricane Migrant

Chinquapin- from Georgia DNR
Charlie Burwick sent me  this story about a whimbrel named Chinquapin which survived a migration from Southampton Island through Hurricane Irene and arrived safely at the mouth of the Amazon in Brazil.  It made this incredible journey of 4,000 kilometers (roughly 2,500 miles) in spite of flying through 175 kilometer per hour winds and never lost its bearings.  On last year's migration it managed to fly around Tropical Storm Colin.

Chinquapin got its name when it was fitted with a tiny radio transmitter the bird has carried since May of 2010.  This allowed nervous researchers record its flight through the Northeast section of the hurricane.

The Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus is a shore bird, a type of curlew.  Its breeding range is across North America, Asia and Europe.  Their range map for the Western Hemisphere is here.  Their primary food is crab although they eat berries and blue butterflies in season.  Their curved beak is perfect for extracting fiddler crabs from their burrows.  They can wash the mud off their dinner and even remove the claws and legs before swallowing it.

This doesn't directly relate to Missouri wildlife until you think about the many species of our birds that make equally long migrations through storms.  In the words of Bill Bryson, "Life just wants to be."

No comments:

Post a Comment