The Longest, Hungriest Flight

by Derek Stump

That bird in the picture, called a bar-tailed godwit, doesn’t look very big or strong. But it can fly farther than any other bird – and fly for longer without eating than any other animal! One bar-tailed godwit just flew 8,435 miles from Alaska to Australia, setting a world record with its 11-day long flight. That’s a big deal – we people can’t fly a half hour before we need a snack.  

Wee ones: 11 days is a long time to fly. Can you count to 11? See how close you can get! 

Little kids: If a bar-tailed godwit starts flying on Tuesday, what are the next 2 days of its trip? Bonus: What day of the week is the 11th day of flight? 

Big kids: You decide to race against the godwit. Since you’re a person and can’t fly, you row a boat starting in Alaska. If you row 800 miles a day, can you beat the godwit? Bonus: If you row 10,000 miles total, how much farther than that little bird’s 8,435 miles do you go? 

Answers:

Wee ones: Start counting at 1! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 ,10, 11. 

Little kids: Wednesday and Thursday. Bonus: Friday a week later, since Tuesday a week later is the 8th day. 

Big kids: Yes! You will row 8,800 miles in 11 days. Bonus: 1,565 miles farther. 

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