When people think about migration, there are two major migrations that we know about: the spring and fall seasonal migrations. The change of seasons is most frequently noted as a time where birds are migrating, but in reality, birds are moving every day in many different ways, for many different reasons.
Here are 10 different ways that birds migrate:
- Seasonal: The seasonal migration takes place just when you’d expect it to - when the seasons change!
- Irruptive: Irruptive migrations are those that are sporadic and highly unpredictable, and are dependent on bird resources such as food and water. Birds that are irruptive migrators include thrushes, grosbeaks, and redpolls.
- Dispersal: Though sometimes not considered a true migration, dispersal is a big move in a bird’s life! Dispersal takes place once in a bird’s lifetime when juvenile birds move away from their parent’s nest and have to find their own new territory. This is most common in resident birds who will defend their territory throughout the year, such as woodpeckers.
- Loop: This type of migration is more common in sea and shorebirds, as they use seasonal wind patterns to aid their flights. It includes two different routes to and from breeding grounds, taking advantage of resources throughout their loop depending on the time of year.
- Leapfrog: Leapfrog, or skip migration, is a unique migration pattern where a northern flock of birds will travel a greater distance to skip over a population of the same species.
- Molt: During a molt migration, birds will travel to a safe area where they are less vulnerable, and when they are less capable of flight. Once their molt is complete, they will return to their usual territory, regardless of what season it is.
- Drift: Drift migrations are one of the most anticipated migrations for avid birders. Drift migrations happen when birds migrate off of their normal pattern, due to storms or other unforeseen events that push them away, resulting in many rare bird sightings.
- Latitudinal: This is the most common type of migration, as it takes place between areas of different latitudes - from north to south and vice versa.
- Longitudinal: This type of migration is very similar to latitudinal, but instead moves east to west and vice versa. This type of migration is more common in European birds.
- Altitudinal: Altitudinal migrations take place with birds who commonly breed in high altitudes, but move to lower altitudes to avoid harsh winter weather conditions that exist in high altitudes.
No matter your area, you can support birds throughout the year by stocking your feeders full of nutritious snacks! Lyric Delite No Waste Mix is a premium wild bird food that will attract a wide variety of birds to your backyard feeder. Use Lyric Delite No Waste Mix and get ready for snack-happy chickadees, woodpeckers, jays, titmice, cardinals, and many more!