18 Migratory Birds Facts: Exploring the Wonders of Avian Migration

This spring, pay special attention to your yard for various new bird species and season-long entertainment.

Please read through these interesting facts about bird migration while watching birds migrate through your yard or occasionally as they leave your yard to go further north. You never know what you might learn!

Interesting Migratory Birds Facts

The tiniest migratory bird is the hummingbird.

Hummingbird Smallest Migratory Bird

The smallest migrating bird is the hummingbird, which weighs around 1/8 of an ounce on average.

When migrating, they can move at a speed of up to 30 mph (48 kph). They cross the Gulf of Mexico twice a year as part of their migratory route. 

They travel up to 600 miles on nonstop flights in this manner. Such a far for such a tiny bird to travel!

Birds that are migrating can fly very far.

Birds can fly up to 16,000 miles during their migration. Some go at 30 mph to arrive at their destination on time.

Birds can travel up to 533 hours at this speed to reach their destination. Some birds would need 66 days to travel 8 hours daily to reach their migration goal. 

This indicates that the birds have traveled a great distance before arriving in your backyard! Make sure they arrive with fresh food and water as a greeting.

Some bird species travel at great elevations.

Birds Fly at High Elevations

Not all birds fly low enough for us to see them. Songbirds fly between 500 and 2,000 feet above the ground. Vultures and geese have been observed flying at heights between 29,000 and 37,000 feet. 

According to some scientists, birds glide rather than flap their wings when they travel at greater altitudes to save energy. They ascend and descend to use the natural lift that the variations in density provide.

Birds that migrate can navigate.

Birds that migrate instinctively know where to go and how to find their way back home. They use the earth’s magnetism, the sun, and the stars to guide them.

Also, people frequently go back to the place where they were born. Because of this, if you believe you see the same bird in your yard every year, you may be correct.

Birds get ready to migrate.

Birds Prepare to Migrate

Birds develop body fat to aid in preparing for the arduous migration away from home during the winter.

They reserve up to 50% of their body weight after refueling with specific nutrients. Birds should always be fed, but they need it most during migration and while they are getting ready to leave for it. They’ll be peckish.

Birds migrate at various times of the year.

Have you ever thought about the time that birds migrate? Migrating birds eat and sleep while most of us are on our morning and afternoon commutes to and from work.

A lot of birds migrate at night. People act in this way for several reasons. Since the air is colder at night, fewer stops are necessary to cool off in the water. 

Similarly to this, predators are less numerous and less visible at night. When their predators are dozing off, birds are more secure when flying. Not all birds migrate during the day, as you may often witness geese and cranes doing so.

Wisconsin is a well-liked destination for migrant workers

Wisconsin Draws Migrants

An estimated 3 million birds pass the state border of Wisconsin every day in May, a major month for migration, on their way back to their homes in Wisconsin.

And on a clear night at that! In Wisconsin, there might be up to 30 million birds migrating in on particularly busy days during the spring season.

Throughout their voyage, migratory birds are frequently threatened.

As was previously said, birds migrate at specific times of the day to avoid potential dangers. Predators like owls or hawks, thirst, malnutrition, oil drilling rigs in the ocean, windmills, power plants, and extreme climate changes are among the major dangers on the arduous trek home in the spring.

Although birds are innately aware of these dangers, they are still unsafe while traveling.

One example of a migratory bird is a neotropical bird

Neotropical Bird

Neotropical birds are migratory birds that come from neotropical regions in Central and South America.

The Northern Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, and Ruby-Throated Hummingbird are examples of Neotropic migrants.

After migrating, some elements are required. 

Birds’ primary needs are food, water, and nesting supplies. After using a lot of energy to travel those large distances, they will be quite hungry.

They could become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough water after their migration flight. 

They’ll also be prepared to lay eggs. Birds will be able to construct their nest in time for the birth of their young if you provide nesting materials in your yard, such as string, hay, pet hair, strips of fabric, and natural supplies like twigs or moss.

Almost 40% of the Birds in the World Migrate

40% of Birds Migrate Globally

At least 4,000 different species of migratory birds are currently known. And as scientists understand more about the behaviors of birds in tropical areas, this number is certain to rise.

The first records of bird migration date back to the Ancient Greeks, including Homer and Aristotle, who made them roughly 3,000 years ago. The Book of Job in the Bible also makes reference to it.

The highest-flying migratory bird is the bar-headed goose

This incredible animal regularly reaches heights of up to 5.5 miles above sea level! You would assume that because it is a native of central Asia, it must ascend to such heights to cross the Himalayan Mountains on its migration route.

Yet, according to experts on bird physiology and natural history, some migratory bird species use lower-altitude passageways via the Himalayas.

There must be a good reason for the bar-headed goose’s ability to soar to such high altitudes. Yet as it stands, scientists are perplexed.

The arctic tern travels the farthest of any species

Arctic Tern Furthest Traveler

These red-billed, black-capped birds have a yearly distance of more than 50,000 miles. It flies from its Arctic breeding sites to the Antarctic and back each year. Over 12,000 kilometers separate these locations at their closest points.

The arctic tern spends two summers a year due to its lengthy migration. Also, it experiences more daylight than any other animal on the globe. The tern makes three voyages to the moon and back over the course of its more than 30-year existence.

The northern wheatear travels even further relative to its size

The northern wheat-ear is a small bird often weighing less than an ounce. Yet, this little guy makes an annual journey from the Arctic to Africa of up to 9,000 miles each way. Its range is among the broadest of any songbird.

In addition to North America’s northeast and northwest shores, northern wheatears breed all over northern Eurasia. Why, in the winter, do we not see them among snow buntings, tree sparrows, and snowy owls?

That’s because the same area of sub-Saharan Africa hosts almost all of the world’s northern wheatears during the winter.

The best migratory bird award goes to Snipe.

Snipe Top Migrator

This little, stocky-wading bird can fly up to 60 mph and covers an average distance of 4,200 miles! No other animal covers such distances at such speeds.

Researchers have not discovered much evidence that snipes benefit from wind aid, even though most birds use tailwinds to boost their speed. In actuality, their wings are not particularly aerodynamic and lack sharp tips.

Some snipes have been known to travel 4,200 kilometers nonstop in 84 hours. Despite having opportunities, they often do not stop to eat. They rely on their fat reserves instead.

In the endurance test, the Bar-Tailed Godwit triumphs

This 7000-mile, eight-day autumn migration of this Alaskan shorebird from Alaska to New Zealand is completed in a single movement with no rest or resupply stops in between. That is a migratory bird’s longest recorded non-stop flight.

The body weight of certain species doubles

Certain Species Double Weight

Birds go into a state known as “hyperphagia” to be ready for the extremely taxing endeavor of migration.

They store a lot of fat, which they will utilize as fuel for their lengthy trips. Certain species, including our friends the northern wheatear and the blackpoll warbler, practically quadruple their typical body weight before migrating.

These birds would be considered dangerously obese and have type 2 diabetes if they were humans, given the rate and amount of their fattening.

Many migrant birds fly during the night.

Overheating is less likely when the air is colder. A migratory bird generates enormous extra heat that must be expelled (mainly through its un-feathered legs). Dark skies also have the essential benefit of harboring fewer predators.

Moreover, nighttime atmospheric air is typically less turbulent than daytime air. Most migratory land birds do so at night.

They include sparrows, thrushes, orioles, warblers, vireos, cuckoos, and flycatchers. The majority of these birds live in wooded areas and other protected habitats. They require dense habitats to evade predators because they are not particularly agile flyers.

In this article, we have discussed about amazing facts about migratory birds. To know more about such amazing facts, do not forget to follow this website. 

Was this article helpful?

Join our active Facebook group for creative and fun activities, games, and other child development ideas.

Leave a Comment