Pauline Samways on Godwits, their habitat and migration

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Pauline Samways on Godwits, their habitat and migration

This extraordinary New Zealand migratory bird flies each autumn just before the cold and dark of winter all the way from NZ in the Southern hemisphere up via China and Korea to the Alaskan warmth and light of spring and the coming summer in the Northern hemisphere.

However, after laying their eggs and bringing up their young, the godwits then fly nonstop back around the curve of our planet - to NZ a distance of 11,500 kilometers without stopping, and for the new born this is an astonishingly long distance voyage and to an unknown destination too.

Now . Imagine you are up in Alaska and autumn foreshadows the coming cold and darkness of winter and the godwits along the shorelines prepare for their epic journey south as they sense the prevailing winds and conditions and ready themselves for take off.

Finally lifting off to fly continuously hour after hour, the sun overhead will appear to track from east to west and after 12 or so hours the sun will set and darkness sets in - yet flying all night, up to an altitude of 2 or 3 kilometers above the earths surface, with starlight above them and the planet still turning on its axis, they will witness the sun rising in the east the next morning as they continue there arduous journey.

And with our planet still turning they will persist all day, all night flying without sleep or rest in a southerly direction across the expansive Pacific ocean - continuously for another 6 days and nights ...

To finally swoop down into Miranda on the Firth of Thames in NZ, and safely land.

Having traversed 11,500 kilometes.

What an enormous flight of passage!

How can the godwit, a very small bird with a frail appearance accomplish such a gigantic feat and every time find its way 'home'?

When we look at the human species and look at our capabilities

If a bird brain can find its way home, how come the human species has not realized that its 'our planet' that is our collective home, and the urgent need to take care of it, for as you may very well know, birds do not soil their own nest, so how come the human species manages to accomplish this act without even thinking?

This 52 minute interview covers some of the mysterious elements of physiology, such as the godwits ability to reshuffle proteins in their bodies before they set out flying and that this allows them to reduce the size of their food-processing organs.

Navigation; How do they know where to go and what time to fly? Introducing Rupert Sheldrake's ideas on 'morphic resonance' and other phenomenon beyond the visible.

Loss of habitat and decline of population and Fukushima radiation, and could Godwits be the 'Canary in the Nuclear coal mine?

References:
Godwits - Long Haul Champions by Keith Woodley from Penguin Books.

The Ornithological Society of New Zealand:
http://www.osnz.org.nz

http://www.nzbirds.com/birds/kuaka.html

http://www.sheldrake.org/Resources/faq/answers.html

Bird Migration is the one truly unifying natural phenomenon in the world, stitching the continents together in a way that even the great weather systems, which roar out of the poles, but fizzle at the equator, fail to do. It is an enormously complex subject, perhaps the most compelling drama in all natural history. ~ Scott Weidensaul.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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