18 May, 2009

Sparrow King Adjusting His Migration

Don writes....

"Sparrow King has, in previous years, flown north on a fairly direct course across N. America to some point in Manitoba, and then turned abruptly to the northeast on a heading that would take him directly to his breeding range on Baffin Island.

This year, as we know, he encountered something that compelled him to return south for a couple hundred kilometers, and we've been wondering what he would do next.

The answer - he has flown northeast on a direct heading that will take him to his breeding range on Baffin Island. In other words, he has done exactly what he's done before, except that this year, the northeast segment of his journey started at a lower latitude.

In the past 2 days he has flown 598 km (371 mi) toward his imminent crossing of Hudson Bay."

So it appears that Sparky has adjusted his route to travel below the line of snow and ice. He needs to complete an easterly migration to reach his nest site but was (and this is our best guess) dissuaded by the climatic conditions that exist further north.

So he is still traveling but presumably under more favorable conditions. He is still moving through the boreal forest and remains well below the treeline.