Here’s the fourth installment in our Animal Olympians series.  Don’t forget to tune in to my next appearance on the Today Show tomorrow, February 24, where I’ll be bringing some animal Olympians to share with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

Sooty Shearwater and Arctic Tern
Sooty Shearwater WikiMedia When it comes to long distance endurance, there’s a heated rivalry between two sea birds.  For years, the Arctic tern held the title of the bird with the longest migration, traveling from the Arctic all the way to the Antarctic, and back again, each year.  They literally migrate from one end of the planet to another.  Then, scientists discovered that the sooty shearwater also has an impressive migratory journey, beginning in New Zealand and ending in the North Pacific.  Each bird was estimated to travel over 40,000 miles annually.

Artic Tern WikiMedia However, a recent study reports that the Arctic tern can go as far as 50,000 miles, making it the favorite in this year’s Animal Olympics.  But who will take the gold and who will settle for the silver is anyone’s guess!  One thing is sure, compared to these two avian migrants, the Pacific gray whale, the longest migrating mammal, can only hope for the bronze with a round-trip journey of only 12,000 miles.

To learn more about animal Olympians, catch up by reading parts one, two and three of this blog series, or check out National Wildlife magazine online.

Sooty Shearwater photo by Mike Baird and Arctic Tern by OdderBen both via Wikimedia Commons.