Milly Formby is a multi-talented zoologist and self-confessed bird nerd, who is flying an Airborne M4 Sport microlight 20,000 km around the coast of Australia to highlight the importance of shorebirds, sharing her passion and adventures with primary schools on the way.
She has Master of Science and Bachelor of Visual Arts degrees, and to achieve her goal of completing an epic flight paralleling shorebirds’ annual migration, also gained her recreational pilot’s licence. Avisure is proud to be supporting her epic ‘migration’, by sponsoring the Ballina leg of her trip. We’ll give an update in April on her progress.
She began her epic journey on 4 June 2022 at White Gum Farm in Western Australia and is currently making her way up the coast from Port Macquarie in New South Wales. Her website Wing Threads is well worth a visit, not only for the compelling mix of Milly’s scientific passion and graphic design talent, but you can learn more about her and her shorebird adventure and track her journey online.
These are just a few of the fascinating insights into ‘awesome shorebirds’ on Wing Threads.
Migratory shorebirds are a living expression of how we’re all connected through a global, ecological network. As they wing their way on migration, their path is a thread that links over 4.5 million people, in 22 countries over 4 continents.
Shorebirds are the world’s most endangered group of bird species.
Commonly referred to as waders, they are most often seen wading around wetlands, mudflats and intertidal areas to feed.
In Australia, there are more than 50 species of shorebirds and most of them are migratory.
Every year, instinct drives millions of shorebirds on an epic flight of 12,000 kilometres from Australia to breeding grounds on the insect-rich, mossy plains of the Arctic Tundra.
They follow a bird migration highway known as the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. There are 8 global flyways in the world, but the East Asian-Australasian Flyway is the most species-rich. Six million waders are estimated to use the route annually.
They range from the tiny red-necked stint, weighing 25g (about the size of a Tim Tam biscuit) which can fly up to 5000 km in one go, to the world record holder, the bar-tailed godwit. A female godwit’s migration was tracked as she flew from Alaska to New Zealand 12,000 km non-stop over 9 days, crossing the Pacific Ocean, making it the longest non-stop flight ever recorded for any bird species.
Shorebirds are long-lived and by the time a bar-tailed godwit is 15 years of age, it will have flown the equivalent distance from the earth to the moon, 384,400 km.