31 Jul '18, 9am

Is the Slender-billed Curlew really extinct? A new technology is helping us find out.

The study involved the analysis of stable isotopes harvested from feathers of 35 Slender-billed Curlew specimens kindly donated from all around the world. These atoms are tiny traces of the environment (such as food or water) that are transferred into body tissues when the bird consumes them, and subsequently becomes a part of the bird's feathers as they are formed. By studying the isotopes from juvenile specimens – that is to say, young birds at the breeding site preparing to embark on their first migration – staff at Iso-Analytical , a laboratory specialising in isotope analysis, were able to calibrate their findings with existing large-scale isotope ratio maps from across the world, allowing the team to discover where these young birds first grew their feathers.

Full article: https://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/chasing-ghosts-ho...

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