New Godwit Migration Record

Map of Godwit Migration 2008

Map of Godwit Migration 2008

We wrote in this space last year about Bar-tailed Godwit number E-7, a female godwit who, according to the satellite tracking the transponder fitted to one of her legs, had just completed a 7,155 non-stop migration from Alaska to New Zealand, but she outdid herself this year, beating her own world record for non-stop distance flying; this year, as you can see from the map, she flew 7,242miles in eight days, garnering not only the distance record but her own Washington Post editorial plus more updates on the USGS site which tracks E-7and 22 other godwits on their semi-annual migrations; migrations which average about 18,000 miles of flying a year and upwards of 250,000 miles over an average Godwit life span which is more mind-boggling than the fact that we just told you about her eight-day trip this year in a single sentence the reading of which may put you in mind of how tired she must have been at the end of the trip.

Nobody knows for sure where the name “Godwit” came from.  It may be theological in origin or it may derive from the anglo-Saxon word for “good” and “animal” or “bird” because it was once considered a delicacy.  Ben Johnson could buy one for supper for a half a crown.  Two centuries before Johnson a Godwit cost twice as much in London as a Snipe, so don’t say you never learn anything useless reading our blog.

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