Male small Godwits, named 4BBRW (thus encrypted four rings on his legs, which he tagged: blue, blue, red and white), was one of four birds, overseen by ornithologists. In addition to the rings, the scientists attached a 5gm satellite tag to the back of the 4BBRW, which made it possible to track the movement of the bird.
For two months, the breeder, along with relatives, ate worms and mollusks in the Alaskan swamps, and on September 16, the flock left America and went south. 11 days later, radars spotted a greese in a bay near Oakland.
The satellite recorded a flight of 12,854 km, but scientists believe that, taking into account possible errors, the real distance is about 12,200 km. The previous longest non-stop flight of a bird - 11 680 km - was recorded in 2007.
Dr. Jesse Conklin of the Global Flyway Network, a consortium for bird migration, says: “They seem to have the ability to understand where they are in the world. We cannot explain this, but it looks like they have an onboard map. For days, they fly over the open ocean in the center of the Pacific Ocean, where there is no land at all. Then they get to New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, where there are quite a few islands, and, having noticed the land, they seem to decide: "It's time to turn, or I will miss New Zealand".
As for the small bodews, the scientist describes these birds as follows: “They have an incredibly efficient fuel to energy ratio. Nature designed them as a jet fighter. Long, pointed wings and streamlined body shape give them excellent aerodynamic potential".
The record-holder and its siblings are expected to fly back in March. The flight will likely pass through Asia, where they will spend about a month feeding in the Yellow Sea area before returning to Alaska. Scientists believe that the route across the Pacific Ocean, which the birds choose, works as an "ecological corridor": thanks to strong winds, there are fewer predators and a lower risk of disease.
“There are other birds that make similar flights, say, 10,000 km, but there are not many places in the world where this is necessary”, - says Jesse Conklin. - Therefore, it cannot be said that this is the only bird capable of such a flight. Rather, it is the only bird that has to do it".