The Incredible Journey Of New England's Blackpoll Warblers06:35

A blackpoll warbler in Pennsylvania, October 2013  (flickr/Kelly Colgan Azar)
A blackpoll warbler in Pennsylvania, October 2013 (flickr/Kelly Colgan Azar)
This article is more than 6 years old.

Blackpoll warblers may be the planet's ultimate endurance athletes. Why? Because UMass researchers have just found that they fly nonstop for three straight days — from the New England coast, 1,700 miles to Puerto Rico each fall.


William Deluca, research fellow in the Landscape Ecology Lab at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


The Boston Globe: Tiny Blackpoll Warblers Make Mind-Boggling Migration

  • "The slight birds, which typically weigh a little more than two quarters, accomplish this seemingly impossible feat by fattening up preflight, in some cases nearly doubling their body weight."

Biology Letters: Transoceanic Migration By A 12g Songbird

  • "Using miniaturized light-level geolocators, we provide the first irrefutable evidence that the blackpoll warbler, a 12 g boreal forest songbird, completes an autumn transoceanic migration ranging from 2270 to 2770 km  and requiring up to 3 days of non-stop flight. This is one of the longest non-stop overwater flights recorded for a songbird and confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet."

This segment aired on April 2, 2015.