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Swedish birds in 'record' non-stop flight to Africa

TT/Rebecca Martin · 26 May 2011, 08:45

Published: 26 May 2011 08:45 GMT+02:00

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“It is almost like a world record," said ecology professor Åke Lindström at Lund University, to the Expressen daily.

The three birds were Great Snipes, indigenous to north Eastern Europe and north Western Russia.

They started their autumn migration from lake Ånnsjön near the popular Swedish ski resort Åre, in August 2009.

Their journey went through half of Sweden, through mainland Europe, the Sahara desert and was concluded in Nigeria in West Africa.

The snipes did the journey without a break. It took them between two and a half and three days.

According to the scientists who tracked the birds there is no other known case of any other animal travelling as rapidly over such a long distance.

They are specifically interested in the fact that the birds chose not to stop and break their journey despite there being plenty of opportunity on the way down over Europe.

Scientists think it could have something to do with fear of predators that the birds chose not to break their journey.

“This means that we will seriously have to question the ideas we had of what these birds are capable of,“ Lindström said.

After a stopover in Nigeria, the three birds decided to continue to the rainforests of the Congo, which came as a surprise to the scientists.

“We didn’t expect the Congo at all. It will be exciting to see what they get up to there,” Lindström told Expressen.

After 6-7 weeks in the rainforest, the snipes made their return journey.

Story continues below…

This time they stopped for a break in the Balkans and found their way back to Sweden in May 2010.

According to Lindström, the snipes tend to lie low and rest after their return.

“They hardly ever fly,“ Lindström told Expressen.

The report was published on Wednesday in the online version of biology publication Biology Letters.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:50 May 26, 2011 by virgoman
''Their journey went through half of Sweden, through mainland Europe, the Sahara desert and was concluded in Nigeria in West Africa.''

You guys in that University don't have any other thing to study than dishing out a ''fairy tale'' about birds breaking records. Hmmmmmnnnnn you traced the bird's stopover to Nigeria? so did the birds have a Presidential welcome for stopping over in Nigeria? please pass the salt..........
08:52 May 26, 2011 by byke
What a load of old cods wallop.

Since when have migrating birds ever had a nationality.
09:58 May 26, 2011 by Grindsprint
YES!! Today I am so proud to be swedish! I KNEW we could break that record!
10:10 May 26, 2011 by bolababu
hahaha, they probably just heard about the oil in Nigeria, willing to break any records to be the first to get a stake.
10:33 May 26, 2011 by comentatir
Yeah! Swedish birds fitted with latest Swedish technology breaking records ...
10:54 May 26, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
You guys are wrong. They were headed to Libya, but they ran out of gasoline, so they stopped in Nigeria. What a story. The names of the birds were Jas, Grippen and B.S. What a way to waste time and taxpayers money. And Grindsprint, don't talk stupidities. When did you know about the "ODYSSEY"? and, if you are proud of being Swedish just for what is commented in this thread, your national values are realy twisted and you need to go inmediately with Freud, then with Jung and then with From.
11:06 May 26, 2011 by Mzungu
Lets be realistic, it's far quicker than SAS......

*volcanic ash or not*
11:34 May 26, 2011 by Observour
Such a beautiful story:) Poor birds can even realise that very soon it will be hell to live in the west so they have started sending their 'scientists' to explore other parts of the globe towards future migration. Why not....our governments are cooperating to run to space after screwing the system here with their ocultic order.....

I'd rather follow the birds....wherever capitalist rulers go, I want to go in the opposite direction.
13:17 May 26, 2011 by Frank Arbach

Presumably the "Three Swedish birds" dropped, not a dollop of sh*^te, but their Swedish passports (complete with permanent residence permits?) on to the West African immigration officials.

Hence they could be identified as 'Swedish' Lol
13:44 May 26, 2011 by comentatir
@J. L. Belmar

Relax! I think he was being sarcastic. =)
17:23 May 26, 2011 by J. L. Belmar

Is sarcastic the new synonym of nincompoop? I have to look for another grammar.
21:17 May 26, 2011 by Enjoyourlife
Let me know when they plan to travel next time. I have a parcel I would like them to deliver in Nigeria.
21:29 May 26, 2011 by muscle
I think the birds are fed up with the swedish weather! :) waiting for summer ...summer... summmer.. oh damn its snow again!
22:48 May 26, 2011 by planethero
23:47 May 26, 2011 by obama
How they flewed without my permission? I am persident of all the world and why you let them fly without my permission.

Send these birds to white house. I will use these birds for dron attack on pakistan and Afghnistan.

Next flight of these birds should be to USA.

........................................ OBAMA
04:52 May 27, 2011 by spy
I say we let the poor Swedes claim this as a national victory if it makes them feel more worthwhile........
01:05 May 29, 2011 by Roger O. Thornhill
The Swedes beat out rival Norway by two hours. The Russian birds were a distant third, while the German birds continue to be embroiled in a doping scandal.
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