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For the first time, scientists have tracked the blackpoll warbler’s perilous autumn migration over 1,700 miles of open ocean, from northern North America all the way to the Caribbean. 

Tiny Songbird’s Incredible Journey

April 6, 2015

20150408-BlackPollWarbler-600x298.jpg

For the first time, scientists have tracked the blackpoll warbler’s perilous autumn migration over 1,700 miles of open ocean, from northern North America all the way to the Caribbean. Four tagged warblers set out from Vermont and Nova Scotia and flew directly to the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. One bird was in the air for 73 hours straight.

The pint-sized songbird is common in parts of North America, but numbers are declining—possibly driven by climate change. Migration expert Andrew Farnsworth from Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology spoke with an AP reporter about the study, published in the UK journal Biology Letters.

“Knowing how the blackpoll warblers migrate helps scientists know more about the implications of changing climate,” Farnsworth remarked. “What happens if birds aren't able to fuel sufficiently to make this kind of flight because of habitat fragmentation and habitat loss in New England or the Canadian Maritimes? How much energy do they need and if they don't get it, what happens?”

Read more in U.S. News.