Does it seem amazing to you that so many birds are powerful enough to migrate across the country each year? If so, you’re not alone.
Amazingly, more than 5,000 species regularly migrate, sometimes completing journeys of thousands of miles and returning to the exact same locations from which they started.
Here are some key facts you may not know about bird migration.
- The primary reason they migrate is for survival; they must find year-round food sources enabling them to reproduce and nurture their young. Without migration, competition for resources would eliminate bird species in some areas.
- Birds use sunlight angles and light intervals to help them determine when to migrate.
- They navigate through different means, including chemicals in their brains, eyes or bills that can tune in to the earth's magnetic field. They can also follow geographic landmarks; orient themselves via the sun and stars; use sounds and scents; and learn routes from other birds.
- Birds undergo seasonal physical changes that help them migrate more safely; they may change hormonally, gain weight, grow more plumage, or molt.
- Some birds change their normal behavior for migration; for example, they might fly at different altitudes to stay cooler or fly at night to evade predators.
- With the exception of the frigate bird, which apparently takes very brief power naps during flight, migrating birds must regularly land and sleep to refresh themselves for their journeys.
- Some sources estimate that 60% of migrating birds fail to complete their round-trip journeys each year due to factors such as inadequate food, lack of energy, prohibitive weather, collisions, predators, pollution, or habitat loss.
Do your part to help migrating birds by keeping your feeders stocked year-round. Lyric’s Supreme Wild Bird Mix helps many different species maintain energy levels through its nutrition-packed mix of seeds, nuts, sunflower kernels, and cracked corn.