Journey of Discovery

Episode 4: Bird migration in Australia

Every year, migratory birds fly up to 10,000 kilometres from their wintering grounds in tropical Australia to breeding areas in the Arctic. “We want to find out how they do this,” says Jutta Leyrer.
A group of scientists and environmentalists meet at the Bird Observatory in Broome. They want to tag as many birds as possible with leg bands and data loggers to collect information that might reveal more about migration. But to do this, they first have to catch the birds.
In Australia, this is done by so-called canon netting. Nets shoot out of the sand and land gently on huge swarms of birds. Over a hundred birds flap about beneath the net. The researchers are kept busy for several hours.
This year, the scientists face an additional problem: cyclone Rusty. For days, the area is hit by strong winds and heavy rainfall. All roads in and out of Broome are closed for safety reasons. The scientists are unable to continue their journey as planned. The future of the entire expedition is uncertain.