E7 Godwit Pukorokoro Miranda
Bar Tailed Godwit – E7 Photo : Paul Gibson

In February 2007, researchers from the USGS Alaska Science Centre, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Massey University and the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre deployed satellite transmitters on Bar-tailed Godwits at Pūkorokoro and Farewell Spit. The purpose of the project was to track their migration routes from their non-breeding sites in New Zealand to their breeding grounds in Alaska. As fortune would have it the transmitter batteries surpassed all expectations and allowed excited ornithologists to track progress as E7 completed her complete migration loop to Alaska via East Asia and back to New Zealand. After leaving the Pūkorokoro area on 17 March 2007 she arrived back here on 7th September having completed, as so many of these birds do every year, the full circuit of over 29,000km. Her flight of 11,680km from Alaska took her just over 8 days of non-stop flying! Her arrival back to Pūkorokoro was surely an emotional moment for many involved in this project! This was a world record, at the time, for a non-seabird which attracted worldwide media attention.

Details of these project, organisations involved and some statistics on E7’s journey can be found by members in 2007and 2008 Miranda Naturalist Trust News issues (copies available to non-members from the Shorebird Centre) as well as in the following web pages.