Unique rollercoaster pattern helps geese move across Mount Everest

Unique rollercoaster pattern helps geese move across Mount Everest

A study team from Bangor University has unveiled the secrets of the flight of the bar-headed geese across Himalayas, which is the world's highest bird migration. The geese have been recorded at heights of over 7,000m (23,000 ft) and mountaineers say that they have spotted the birds fly over Mount Everest.

As reported by the BBC's science reporter Victoria Gill, ability of the geese to fly in such extreme conditions has mesmerized scientists for long. Scientists have recently found that these birds make use of a unique rollercoaster pattern while flying across the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau during migration.

Researchers from Bangor University in the United Kingdom attached custom-made data loggers for observing the geese during their migration period starting from their breeding grounds in Mongolia up to Tibet and India.
They recorded significant information, together with the birds' heart rate, body acceleration and high altitude pressure.

“We have developed two independent models to estimate changes in the energy expenditure of birds during flight. One based on changes in heart rate and one based on the vertical movements of the bird’s body”, said Dr. Robin Spivey of Bangor University, a co-author of the paper published in the journal Science.

The data recorded by pressure sensors attached to seven geese indicated that the birds took the most efficient route to cross the high mountain ranges.

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