Migrating Birds Give Competition to Marine Animals in Locomotion

A new study has uncovered that migrating birds are likely to fly continuously for over six months without a break. The journal Nature Communications has got the same published in its latest issue.

Researchers from the Swiss Ornithological Institute conducted the study in collaboration with those at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. Electronic monitors were fixed to as many as six Alpine swifts. The team said that it was simply surprised to find that for 200 days, migrating birds could only fly.

Ornithologists have suspected since the 1970s that for most part of the year, the common swift, smaller cousin of the Alpine swift remained airborne. However, the concept was on the basis of short-term radar data.

The report said that otherwise only marine animals such as dolphins have been shown to have the ability of locomotion for long-term.

But, the latest study including catch of half a dozen Alpine swifts before they could migrate to Western Africa revealed showed that the scenario was different. Felix Liechti, lead author, said that seemingly, the birds had not stopped from late September through early spring.

"We can only speculate as to what the profit is of staying airborne all the time. Is it avoiding predation? Parasites? We don't know", Liechti was cited as saying.