Tiny 'Backpacks' Yield New Data on Birds

Mysteries of Song Bird Migration Revealed

Tiny ‘Backpacks’ Yield New Data on Birds
Washington Post

One especially energetic purple martin, a member of the swallow family, flew 4,650 miles from its wintering grounds in Brazil to its breeding site in Pennsylvania in just 13 days.

Tracking Device Reveals Songbirds’ Travels






  1. Virginia Avatar

    This is a remarkable story and thank you for providing it to the bird-lovers on this blog! I would just like to know why the birds seem to have given up on visiting our feeders recently. It seemed as though we had flocks last winter and it has really dropped this year. Anyone else noticing the same thing?

  2. kt Avatar

    don’t know where you are Virginia, but maybe it is somewhat different weather patterns. it also depends what kind of birds – if there were a whole lot of house finches – they are subject to disease-related die-offs – and concentration at feeders may play a role. Other species may be affected, too.

    On a positive harbinger of spring note: There were red-winged blackbirds calling from a willow thicket on the Boise River in town yesterday. Mid-February is mighty early.

    ALSO – for any bird fanciers – I saw this yesterday – WHAT did they expect -building window sills out of styrofoam? Go acorn woodpeckers – and the landowners should just shut up!


    The picture is great. One wonders what other high quality building materials were used … besides a lot of glue or something.


Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

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Ken Cole