In the summer of 2007
Four travelers left home with their backpacks and traveled all over the world.
But these are not human students. They go out drunk and find themselves in a foreign country. They are small songbirds and migrate to the tropical climate in winter.
Their backpack is light.
A measuring device called "geolocators", each of which is about the size of a small coin.
By measuring the level of light rising and falling, these micro-devices reveal the time of the birds flying, sunrise and sunset no matter where they are.
In turn, these people reveal their place in the world and allow Bridget Stuchbury at York University in Toronto to achieve a world --
The first to follow the entire journey of migrating songbirds, from the start of the outbound tour to the end of the return trip.
The recording shows that the little thrush and purple martins are much more capable than anyone could imagine.
They can fly 500 kilometers a day, more than three times as fast as previously expected.
Previous studies suggested that the migration rate of these small aircraft was only 150 km/day.
But these are major flaws.
Songbirds are so small that satellites cannot track their annual migration.
So far, our knowledge of their journey has come from a brief glance on the radar, or a study done at pit --
Dock along the way.
An incredible study, by injecting light radioisotopes into the thrush and following the thrush on the plane, tracked the thrush for a short period of travel.
All of this research only provides a glimpse of the overall migration, such as piecing together a movie from a static shot and trailer clip.
The stutchbury Studios team from York University in Toronto successfully recorded the entire film.
They captured 14 thrush and 20 purple martins in northern Pennsylvania and installed geo-location meters for them.
A year later, in the summer of 2008, they managed to recapture five thrush and two Martins, and analyzed the data stored in their mechanical backpacks.
These recordings reveal a greatly undervalued aviation skill.
Two purple martins flew over the Gulf of Mexico from eastern United States to the Yucatan Peninsula.
They walked 2,500 km kilometers in just five days and traveled at a speed of 500 km km/h.
They stopped there for about 3-
Four weeks before heading to Brazil
The thrush took a similar route, but made a short stop in the southeastern United States before heading to a very narrow area of Nicaragua and Honduras where they spent the winter.
Both species fly faster on the return journey than on the outbound.
A particularly swift Martin left Amazon on April 12 and returned home at the end of the month.
It covered 7,500 km trips home in just 13 days, 9 of which were spent on the wings.
This makes it fly at an astonishing speed of less than 600 km per day.
The wood thrush flew back to the United States and was about to take-
15 days but they were more laid back than Martins due to not having enough space.
The journey of drawing birds is not just a fantasy for bird lovers, it will be an increasingly important part of protecting these charismatic singers.
The number of many songbird species is collapsing in North America and Europe, and their dependence on shelter and food in distant parts of the world makes them vulnerable to global climate change.
These threats make it even more urgent to determine exactly where they were going and where they were going when they migrated.
For example, we now know that in a very narrow forest area in Nicaragua and Honduras, one of the species that is in decline-thrush for the winter.
This region will be a clear staging ground for future conservation of the species.
Only with this information can we hope to understand how future habitat loss and climate change will affect them, and only in this way can we make informed plans to ensure their survival.
Reference: Science 10. 1126/science.