The Ultimate Endurance Athlete: The Wood Thrush’s Long Journey Home to Appalachia

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Every year, a puff of feathers weighing less than two ounces flies 3,000 miles to Belize and back. The wood thrush is a North Carolina native songbird with a beautiful, fluted melody echoing through Appalachian forests.

The wood thrush population has been declining by 2 percent since 1966, and today it is in danger of disappearing forever. Habitat destruction and climate change are the likely culprits, but until recently, scientists have struggled to track and study the bird in the wild.

Then last year, an Audubon Chapter in North Carolina captured and equipped wood thrushes with GPS backpacks. They tracked the birds from Pilot Mountain to Belize and back, and they discovered that climate change threatens 80 percent of the wood thrush’s remaining habitat.

Learn more about this remarkable avian endurance athlete — and this inspiring research project — in the seven-minute video produced by the Climate Listening Project.

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