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October 9 2013

This Bird Can Stay in Flight for Six Months Straight


In 2011, Felix Lietchi and his colleagues at the Swiss Ornithological Institute attached electronic tags that log movement to six alpine swifts. The small birds—each weighs less than a quarter of a pound—spend the summer breeding in Europe, then migrate to Africa for the winter, thousands of miles away.

“We wanted to learn about energy demands during migration. We expected to see how often they fly, how often they stop, that sort of thing,” he said.

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