Wings from south to north

Chile and Canada are separated by 10.000 kilometres approximately. It is a long trip of thirteen hours by plain with uncomfortable seats and time waiting at the airports. Despite these inconveniences, the advance of our technology has allowed to reduce times of travel. But the capacity to travel long distances also we can find in the wild life. Migratory birds are an extraordinary example of long trips. These species play an important ecological and biological role; they allow us to know more about their incredible behaviour and the relevance of the protection of the natural areas where they live.

First, these animals are an important indicator of the state of conservation in a site; they control the population of insects and cleaning the organic waste. In addition, through their flights, they spread seeds and allow the reproduction of different species of flora.

Zarapito / Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

On the other hand, with studies of the behaviour of these birds, the scientists have obtained valuable information. For instance, the story of a bird known as T6 (Zarapito or Whimbrel, his names in Spanish and English, respectively) is the most incredible evidence how these animals fly long distances. T6 is a male who was ringed by a group of biologist of the United State Geological Survey (USGS) in Kanuti Lake, Alaska. With the ring, he has a geo-positioning transmitter that allows to know where the bird is. According to the results of this experiment, T6 travelled more kilometres than a trip from Chile to Canada with no more than 3 stops!

Map with the travel of T6

The protection of the areas where these birds born, eat ,and spend their time resting is the principal motivation to naturalists and scientists around the world. For example, the mouth of the Maipo River, located in Chile, is the most important site for the migratory birds. Is here where T6 arrives each spring from the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, this place does not have protection and the birds are constantly disturbed for vehicles and people.

We still have further to go to understand these wonderful animals and their awesome travels, without any other instrument that their instinct and intelligence.

Mouth of the Maipo River, Chile.