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Record-Breaking Bird Just Flew Nonstop From Alaska to New Zealand

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A bar-tailed godwit in Australia.

A bar-tailed godwit in Australia.
Image: JJ Harrison/Wikimedia

A conservation group has tracked a migration for the ages, in which a male bar-tailed godwit flew from Alaska to New Zealand without taking a single break.

As the Guardian reports, the bar-tailed godwit departed southwestern Alaska on September 16 and arrived 11 days later at a bay near Auckland, New Zealand. The bird, designated 4BBRW (for the blue, blue, red, and white identification rings attached to its legs), was tracked by Global Flyway Network, a conservation group that studies long-distance migrating shorebirds.

Bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica) are exceptional birds, featuring some mind-bogglingly long migratory routes. The wading birds spend their summers in the arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere (where they breed) and then fly south for the winter, in some cases as far as Australia and New Zealand. Bar-tailed godwits are fast and lightweight, with wingspans around 28 to 31 inches (70 to 80 cm) long.

Bar-tailed godwits looking to relocate from Alaska to New Zealand must make an epic flight over the Pacific Ocean. For 4BBRW, this resulted in a record-breaking nonstop flight, in which the bird flew 7,987 miles (12,854 km), reports the Guardian. The bird was equipped with a 5gm satellite tag, which allowed for GPS tracking. The scientists said the total length of the journey is probably closer to 7,581 miles (12,200 km) after accounting for rounding errors.

The previous nonstop flight record belongs to a female bar-tailed godwit, who flew 7,257 miles (11,680 km) during a similar journey in 2007. Arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) travel more than 50,000 miles (80,000 km) each year, so they deserve mention as having the longest migratory routes of any bird (or any animal for that matter), though they make lots of stops

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This Bird Is Both Male and Female

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gynandromorphic rose breasted grosbeak

Carnegie Museum of Natural History / Annie Lindsay

  • Scientists have discovered a gynandromorphic (two-sexed) bird in a Pennsylvania nature reserve.
  • The bird displays an even split down the middle between male and female feather coloring, leaving researchers to label it a “unicorn.”
  • The bird is likely a product of a genetic anomaly, but it’s perfectly healthy.

    Every once in a while, a genetic anomaly will occur in the animal world that blows scientists’ minds. Take, for example, the exotic bird in the image above. It’s “gynandromorphic,” which means a specimen containing both female and male characteristics that can sometimes be seen in physical traits on the body.

    🦅 You love badass animals. So do we. Let’s nerd out over them together.

    Meet the rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus), which displays an even split down the middle between male and female feather coloring. The bird’s right side shows red plumage (male), while and its left shows golden yellow feathers (female), according to scientists from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Powdermill Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania, who recently discovered it.

    The scientists were “very excited to see such a rarity up close, and are riding the high of this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” they said in a press release. Annie Lindsay, bird banding program manager at Powdermill, said one researcher referred to the experience as “seeing a unicorn,” while another described the discovery as an adrenaline rush, because it was “so remarkable.”


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    Here’s why: Powdermill has been banding and studying several different species since 1962—approximately 13,000 birds annually—and out of the several hundred thousand birds ornithologists have seen at the site, just fewer than 10 have been gynandromorphs like the rose-breasted grosbeak. The last time Powdermill saw a gynandromorph was in 2005, when the team found a

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    LeBron James stats: Lakers star does something only Larry Bird has

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    He really does it all

    There’s no question that LeBron James is one of the two best players in the history of the NBA. His status as an all-time great rivaled only by Michael Jordan is obvious, but it’s possible to still find ways to be amazed by him 17 seasons into his career. 

    Take, for example, this stat. 

    Accomplishing something only previously done by Larry Bird is impressive enough. Doing it six times? That’s ridiculous. 

    The last thing I want to do is wade into the tired LeBron vs. Jordan argument, but this stat is a perfect illustration of why I prefer LeBron’s all-around dominance to Jordan’s scoring-focused greatness. The way he’s able to impact the game in so many different ways is what makes him a joy to watch. 

    The stat almost seemed too good to be true when I first read it. (I believe it’s ESPN baseball writer Sam Miller who says every fun fact tells one small lie.) I thought it had to be a case—like Derek Jeter’s cumulative playoff stats—of LeBron playing more postseason games than guys who came before him. But no, the NBA playoffs have included 16 teams since 1984 (although the first round was a best-of-five until 2003). LeBron really just is that dominant. 

    So, I decided to do some research of my own and adjust the numbers to include guys who aren’t triple double machines like LeBron, searching for players who have had a single postseason with 500 total points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists. The results just make LeBron’s playoff career more impressive. 

    There have been only 15 players to record such a postseason: LeBron, Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Tim Duncan, Richard Hamilton, Allen Iverson, Paul Pierce, Isiah Thomas, Russell Westbrook

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    First People In Bahamas Caused Bird Extinctions, Displacement

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    KEY POINTS

    • Several bird species in the Bahamian islands were lost or displaced after humans arrived
    • Researchers say the human impact is the “most likely culprit” for the losses
    • The others that survived are said to be more resilient but they still need to be protected

    Did the early humans really have a more harmonious relationship with the environment? A new study found that human arrival in the Bahamian islands actually led to the loss and displacement of several bird species.

    Humanity today is facing an extinction crisis, which many believe is caused by human actions quite unlike the previous mass extinctions that were caused by natural events. These actions include overfishing, deforestation, pollution and the burning of fossil fuels.

    Does this necessarily mean those earlier humans without the tools for massive deforestation and harnessing fossil fuels were more harmonized with the environment? According to a new study, maybe not.

    In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a pair of researchers studied over 7,600 fossils from 32 sites on 15 islands in the Bahamian Archipelago, logging a total of 137 species of migrant and resident birds. They found evidence that human arrival in the Bahamas some 1,000 years ago contributed to the displacement or even extinction of several bird species.

    For instance, many bird species in the islands were still present about 900 years ago and possibly coexisted with humans for some time. But some of them eventually disappeared while others, such as the Abaco parrot, were kept to just one or two islands even when there are other islands in the area with similar environments, a University of California-Riverside (UC Riverside) news release said.

    Bahamas Pictured: Bahamas coast. Photo: Yolanda Rolle/Pixabay

    “We wondered why those parrots aren’t found in the middle