Songbirds fly three times faster than previously thought

Migration of birds tracked for first time by Canadian researcher

While previous studies estimated a songbird¹s flight to be about 150 km a day, a Toronto researcher has found them to fly much faster, at over 500 km per day in a study published this week in Science. Researchers at York University tracked the migration of songbirds by outfitting them with tiny geolocator backpacks (which are smaller than a dime) for the first time, since the birds are too small for conventional satellite tracking. Fourteen wood thrushes and 20 purple martins breeding in Pennsylvania in 2007 were used for the study. The birds were tracked beginning with their fall takeoff, migration to South America, and journey back.