Seabirds take record summer vacations

10:47am, August 16, 2006

Seabirds called sooty shearwaters fly some 64,000 kilometers traveling to and from their New Zealand breeding grounds each year, an international research team reports.

That's the longest breeding-season-to-breeding-season trek monitored so far, say Scott A. Shaffer of the University of California, Santa Cruz and his colleagues in the Aug. 22 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Biologists have known that several million sooty shearwaters (Puffinus griseus) raise chicks in burrows on little South Pacific islands. The species is being tracked as part of a research program called Tagging of Pacific Pelagics, which follows 23 ocean species, including birds, sharks, and squid.

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