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Intrepid Whimbrel Flies from Nunavut to the Caribbean Through Hurricane Irene

A plucky whimbrel flew from Nunavut to the Caribbean through Hurricane Irene.
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Hurricane Irene may have shut down New York City and caused rivers throughout the northeastern United States to overrun their banks, but the storm did not daunt one determined shorebird from its migratory path.

The whimbrel, which hails from northern Canada, took off on August 22 from its Southampton Island summering ground in Nunavut and made it all the way to Georgia, Irene notwithstanding. This bird happened to be tagged, which is how researchers knew its liftoff date and the distance it had traveled.

Nicknamed Chinquapin by the team that tagged it, the bird has been tracked since May 2010, the Nunatsiaq News reported. This particular bird has staying power, researchers at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, told the National Post. Since she was first tagged, Chinquapin has taken three cross-hemispheric trips including a mere five-day journey from the Arctic Circle to Puerto Rico, they said.

Nevertheless, they and biologists at the Center for Conservation Biology in Virginia were on tenterhooks when the bird cruised through Irene’s dangerous northeast quadrant on the 24th. However by the 26th she was chilling on a Caribbean island, they said. Her ultimate destination is Brazil, nearly 3,000 miles from her starting point.

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More, plus video, from ABC News. The Center for Conservation Biology lets you track whimbrel. And check here for Chinquapin’s path.