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Birds to fly through volcano's ash cloud

Irish-Icelandic twin schools track migrating birds

Pupils in Cobh looking for the godwits photographed by teacher Mr McSweeney

Twinning schools in Ireland and Iceland are watching to see whether the Icelandic volcano - which has disrupted European air traffic - will affect the godwits migrating between them.
Irish pupils visited their beach to count the birds, only to discovered they had already left. 

Now it is down to their twin school in Iceland to report when they reach their destination.

Jim Wilson, from Operation Godwit, is reassuring about the impact of Eyjafjallajokull's erruption. 

He tells us that while the volcano continues to cause trouble for our flying machines this should not be such a big problem for the hundreds of thousands of birds heading to Iceland from Europe.

"Birds are tough," he says, "and over the centuries have survived similar and much bigger eruptions and hopefully they will survive this one also.

"Along their migration routes from Europe and Africa most of the ash is very high in the air, higher than the level at which the birds fly and so should miss most of it.

"[The birds] are also able to change course and fly around the ash cloud, unlike our big planes.

"Latest reports from Iceland are that birds are arriving in every day and while some that landed near the volcano were looking a bit confused and covered with a light dusting of ash most birds seem in good condition and ready for the breeding season."

Since we first published this story, Icelandic teach Guðný has send World Class this update:

Godwits arrive in Iceland photographed by Sveinn Þorsteinsson

"On the 26th of April I saw the first [Godwits] here – they were only two – the next day, the 27th I saw 3 Godwits – they were around 30 -40 on the first of May having a nice breakfast on the beach.

"On Tuesday the class is going birdwatching and hoping to see some ringed ones!"

How did they do that?

Read more about the Godwit schools.

Pupils from Scoil Iosaef Naofa in Cobh, Ireland and Siglufjördur School in Iceland in set up their unusual link when they began to track the godwits.  The schools are supported through local contacts and Operation Godwit.

BBC World Class has been keeping up to date with Siglufjördur and Scoil Iosaef Naofa's project.  Read more here.

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