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The natural world sends us messages if we’re open to receiving them. Ancient navigators put their trust in the birds’ amazing ability to find dry land, no matter how far they were from safe harbor.
Birds and Navigation
Adapted from a script by Todd Peterson
This is BirdNote.
The natural world sends us messages if we’re open to receiving them. The ancient seafaring peoples of the western Pacific and Polynesia carefully observed the migrations and movements of birds to help them navigate the vast distances between their tiny islands.
Navigator Harold Gatty believed that the Hawaiians may have found their islands by following the spring migration of the golden plover north from Tahiti to the Hawaiian archipelago.
The migratory path of the shining cuckoo may have also helped guide ancient navigators. These cuckoos fly hundreds of miles over open ocean from the Solomon Islands southeast to New Zealand [call of the Shining Bronze-Cuckoo].
[Open ocean waves, wind and water]
On a beach on the North Island of New Zealand, you can find a monument to the great navigator, Kupe, who guided his ocean-going outrigger from beyond the northern horizon. Polynesian navigators often carried frigatebirds with them, which they released and followed to land. The ancient navigators put their trust in the birds’ amazing ability to find dry land, no matter how far they were from safe harbor.
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Editor: Ashley Ahearn
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill
Narrator: Michael Stein
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by L.R. Macaulay.
© 2019 BirdNote August 2016 / 2019
ID# 080706naviKPLU migration-05c