FW: Tracking a Shorebird into Hurricane Irene

To: <>
Subject: FW: Tracking a Shorebird into Hurricane Irene
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 07:41:54 +1000
This may be of interest to those who have been following the recent
discussion on Birding-aus about the merits of tagging and other techniques
to study shorebird migration.

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde NSW

-----Original Message-----
From: Neotropical migratory birds in southeastern United States discussion
list  On Behalf Of Wilson, Michael D
Sent: Friday, 26 August 2011 5:58 AM
Subject: Tracking a Shorebird into Hurricane Irene

Scientists Track Shorebird into Hurricane Irene

(Williamsburg, VA)---Scientists have tracked a migrating shorebird into
Hurricane Irene.  The shorebird, a whimbrel migrating from Canada to South
America left Southampton Island in upper Hudson Bay on Saturday, flew out
over the open ocean and appears to have encountered the outer bands of Irene
on Tuesday.  The bird named Chinquapin flew through the dangerous northeast
quadrant of the storm during the day on Wednesday.  It is being tracked by a
small satellite transmitter and is scheduled to transmit a new set of
positions within the next day.  In 2010 this same bird flew around Tropical
Storm Colin while a second bird flew into the storm and did not survive.

The long-term tracking study has documented several previous encounters
between whimbrel and major storms.  Earlier in August one of the birds flew
through Tropical Storm Gert in the North Atlantic.  This bird encountered
high headwinds for 27 hours averaging only 9 miles per hour.  Once through
the storm, flight speed increased to more than 90 miles per hour as the bird
was pushed by significant tail winds and made it back to Cape Cod,
Massachusetts. In 2008, a bird was tracked into Hurricane Hanna and landed
in the Bahamas only to be hit later by Hurricane Ike.  

Updated tracking maps may be viewed online.

How migratory birds navigate around and survive major storm systems has been
an open question to science.  Achieving an understanding of this process is
important because the Caribbean Basin is a major flyway for many bird
species moving from breeding grounds in North American to winter in South
America and their migrations coincide with the period of highest hurricane
formation.  Changes in storm frequency, intensity, or distribution may have
implications for timing and routes of migratory movements.

This tracking project is a collaborative effort between The Center for
Conservation Biology, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Nature
Conservancy, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Virginia Coastal Zone
Management Program, and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

Media Contacs
Dr. Bryan D. Watts, Director, College of William and Mary& Virginia
Commonwealth University,  (757) 221-2247 office
Fletcher M. Smith, Biologist, Center for Conservation Biology, 757-221-1617
Tim Keyes, Wildlife Biologist, Georgia Department of Natural Resources,
 ,  (912) 262 3191 (office)
Brad Winn, Manomet Center for Conservation Science, 

Michael Wilson
Center for Conservation Biology
College of William and Mary & Virginia Commonwealth University
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
phone: 757-221-1649
fax: 757-221-1650


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