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Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pingo’s tale

Back in June of 2012, a female whimbrel was banded and outfitted with a small satellite transmitter.  This happened in the far northern reaches of the Mackenzie River Delta on her breeding grounds.  As near as I can figure, that places her as an adult female at the very northern tip of either the Northwest Territories or the Yukon in Canada above the Arctic Circle.  Must have been some very intrepid researchers to accomplish that feat!   They named her Pingo (which is what a mound of earth covered ice in the Arctic is called). 

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                                       One of the migrating whimbrels I spotted last week…Not Pingo.

Not long after that, she began her long migration south for the winter.  She winters in Brazil, by the way.  She didn’t exactly take a direct route.  She first went to Labrador on the east coast, and then headed out over the Atlantic.  Much to her dismay, I assume, she encountered hurricane Isaac along the way in September of that year.  Can you believe that without stopping to rest, she flew around the hurricane and made her way to Brazil?  Thanks to the satellite chip, we know that she flew 76 hours straight before making landfall.  Isn’t that amazing?  [I think she should be the mascot for the newly formed Paul Dahl Disorder Driving Club (PDDDC?).]

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On April 17, 2013, Pingo arrived at Anahuac NWR to stop for a while to refuel for her migration back above the Arctic Circle.  Everyone here was very excited to learn about this, but she eventually left.  Would she make it through another year of getting to the Mackenzie Delta and then back down to Brazil?  She sure did.

After spending the winter there she headed for Cuba for a while, and then just a week ago returned to Anahuac!  So Pingo is back!  These fairly recent advances in satellite technology have enabled researchers to learn so much about migration, and to realize there is so much that they don’t yet know.  It once again points to the very importance of maintaining our National Wildlife Refuges and protecting our wild places for future generations.  I’m humbled to be able to be a very small part of this.  I thought you might enjoy this true to life tale of one of my avian friends. Smile I’d sure like to see her in person, but she’s busy refueling in the far reaches of the East Unit, I believe.  Maybe we’ll pass each other along the way as we both head north for the summer…

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

45 comments:

  1. Well I've been to both the FAR reaches of the MacKenzie Delta and the Anahuac NWR as well as Newfoundland and Labrador so I guess I will have to put Brazil on the bucket list too.

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  2. That is just stellar stuff, Judy... how wonderful is this. What a bird! all migrating animals and critters... absolutely mind boggling. And, what a thrill to be a part of it.. .indeed... goooood stuff!

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  3. I think this far flier even puts Paul to shame. How neat it is that we can track Pingo like this.

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  4. Wow. That's just amazing. I am always in awe that migrating birds can do that...and then to fly AROUND a hurricane...well...that's just amazing.

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  5. For sure Pingo is definitely the mascot for the PDDDC! Great story Judy! Thanks so much. Go Pingo!! Long life to you!!

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  6. Wonderful!!! wouldn't it be great if you could see here before
    you leave...

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  7. Amazing, isn't it? Truly, I'm just astounded at what birds can do (and I can only do with United Airlines or some other such expensive service).... We had an oriole that came back to Fish Spring NWR (UT) for SEVEN years in a row..... and got mist-netted and recorded those 7 years.... some times I feel lucky to find my way to the local WalMart and back.

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  8. 76 hours is simply amazing! I hope you do get to see her . Don't you wish they could talk and describe some of these adventures!

    Jo

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  9. You've got to go and say "Hi" to Pingo after that amazing journey. Safe travels to you both...

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  10. Isn't it amazing what these birds can do? Their internal radars are something I stand in awe of.

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  11. I love the story of PIngo! I often wonder about the migration of birds as they pass through wherever I am. Right now we are working at a campground in central Pennsylvania..several couples of Canadian geese are nesting here and I expect to see the babies to come out and graze in a few weeks.

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  12. Wow, such a GREAT story!!! 76 in flight!! How in the world....???

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  13. This is so cool, amazing stuff. I hope to get back to some wildlife refuges to volunteer.

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  14. Great story, thanks for sharing. Bird migration is totally amazing to me. Becki

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  15. This is fascinating - how in the world did she fly 76 hours without landing? Whew - thanks!

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  16. Thanks for sharing such neat information. How amazing they can track the bird like that.

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  17. Judy, I'll add my voice to the chorus - thanks again for sharing this. And for everything that you and the staff and volunteers do.

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  18. What a great bird she is! I've always wondered if we should put birds (or other animals) through te stress of capture, banding, and whatever else they do to some of them, but I guess this story is such an inspiration it has to be kept in the public eye and supported.

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    1. Birds are captured and banded, or radio tagged to help us learn about their needs and how they are coping with a changing world. Radio tagging, especially is giving us much greater insights into their lives and is helping to save species.

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  19. What a fantastic story. It's wonderful that we have the technology to be able to track this amazing bird.

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  20. That is truly amazing! Thanks so much for sharing! I am an even bigger fan of the NWR areas thanks to Pingo!

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  21. Two amazing stories in one day! A friend wrote this morning about Whooping Cranes using a refruge in southern Indiana as a stop over in their migration pattern. This is new for this refuge and they are not disclosing the location to protect the WC. There are also 1500 white Pelicans there at this time.

    The NWR system is performing a great task to protect birds and animals. Thanks Judy, for sharing the story of Pingo. It is amazing that she can fly sugh a great distance for such a long time. It is great that she is at Anahuac. What a thrill.

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  22. Pingo is officially hired as the PDDDC Mascot. Now we have to design decals, bumper stickers and T shirts with her picture on it. All proceeded to support Wildlife Refuges. Are you in? :c)

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  23. How amazing are bird and their migrations. Interesting post Judy thanks

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  24. Judy, I really enjoyed the story about Pingo. Thanks so much for sharing. I do enjoy all your posts and pictures.

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  25. What a great story and I was especially happy to hear that she successfully made the long journey. I never knew they could fly that long. Amazing story.

    Years ago, while out boating a tiny exhausted looking blue bird landed on our boat and rested a while. We were careful not to disturb him, but he finally flew away and unfortunately ended up in the water. We tried to find him and rescue him, but we never did. We hoped he flew away without us seeing him. He was so close to shore.

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  26. An amazing story, thanks for sharing Judy!!

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  27. What a wonderful story! I see a children's book on the migration habits of birds. Just birds--it would be a big book!

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  28. What a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing.

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  29. I'm with you -- thank goodness for our NWR's (etc) and volunteers like you! Go Pingo!!

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  30. Amazing! What a thrill it would be to see her. What a strong and determined little creature of nature. I am hoping she will be tracked for a long time.

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  31. Thanks for sharing this wonderful reminder of the work done by our NWR system. It is amazing they have the energy to fly so long.
    Nature has some pretty good MPG ratings :)

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  32. Regarding the story on Pingo -- BINGO. Very fascinating. thanks for sharing and thanks for all you do for wild life.

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  33. Thanks for that wonderful story. I think what I like best about volunteering is getting to know the "gossip" about animals each refuge manages for. And that reminded me of a wonderful evening spent with Patrick, the Anahuac NWR biologist, on an airboat, , counting whimbrels as they came, in small flocks, to roost.

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  34. That is just astonishing! It would be cool to sight her, but the story is really something.

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  35. And Pingo was her name, what an amazing story.

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  37. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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