This weekend's competition in Wisconsin is a bit more intense than it was in your grade school gym class.
Migrating south can be harrowing for birds– there are long flights along with the risk of getting lost and bad weather.
Two whimbrels flying to South America seemed to be in the clear. During their 3,000-mile trip from Northern Canada the birds, named Goshen and Machi, managed to make it through some terrible weather – one survived Hurricane Irene, the other Tropical Storm Maria.
But it’s their pit stop in Guadeloupe that ended things for them– both were shot dead by hunters in September.
“It was really disappointing to lose those two birds,” researcher Bryan Watts told Here & Now‘s Robin Young.
Watts is Director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary and is one of a team who was tracking the birds by satellite transmitter to collect information on the declining species.
“We had tracked Machi for over 30,000 miles for two years, and to lose them in that way was really disappointing,” he said.
There are laws that protect the whimbrels in North America, but when they leave the continent they’re fair game for hunters.