E7 Godwit Pukorokoro Miranda
Bar Tailed Godwit – E7. Image credit: Paul Gibson

Many of you will have read or heard of the amazing journey of the godwit now known as ‘E7’.

In February 2007, researchers from the USGS Alaska Science Centre, Point Reyes Bird Observatory, Massey University and the 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 she 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 for a non-seabird which attracted worldwide media attention.

In November 2019, twenty more adult birds were caught at Pūkorokoro and fitted with a new and much lighter transmitter. All birds in this project also have individual leg flag and colour band combinations. Any sightings (or even suspected sightings) of these birds should be reported to the Shorebird Centre.

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.