After revolutionizing bird-migration science over the past decade, scientists have used geolocation and a variety of newer technologies to gain an increasingly sophisticated understanding of how migratory songbirds move across the globe.

As a result, a much more nuanced picture has emerged of how conditions on wintering grounds and along migration corridors affect birds’ survival.  And very soon, with the deployment of some cutting-edge gadgetry on the International Space Station, ornithologists will finally be able to delve into the most disturbing mystery of all: why half of the migratory songbird species in North America are disappearing at alarming rates.

recovering a geolocator from a purple martin

Recovering a geolocator from a purple martin

It all furthers the increasingly nuanced understanding of songbirds’ full annual cycles from breeding grounds to winter hideouts and back again, and the intricate cause-and-effect relationships between them that are only just now becoming clear. “We’re basically rewriting the textbooks,” says Pete Marra, head of the Smithsonian Institute’s Migratory Bird Centre.

Read the full story here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/11/where-the-birds-go/545945/