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Migration

2012 March 22
by Marta del Campo and Karen Purcell

Painting by David Beale, NY

Many of us living in northern climates are rejoicing as birds we had not seen or heard in months are beginning to return. We are finally starting to hear their songs and calls from our open windows after a long winter absence.  The return of migrating birds is one of the first signs that spring is settling in around us. How wonderful!  Go outside, welcome back the birds, and feel nature around you. Find inspiration in spring and participate in our latest challenge “Signs of Spring.”  Share your stories, photos, and art with us!

Have you thought about why the vast majority of North American birds are migratory? More than 75% of birds nesting in North America migrate south and spend the winter months in warmer lands like the Caribbean and Central or South America. There are so many migratory birds!

Theresa Evans from Canada, sent a beautiful photo of this Common Grackle at her backyard for the Signs of Spring Challenge. These impressive birds are just returning!

If these birds were only migrating to escape from the harsh cold winters of the north why wouldn’t they just stay in the south year round?  This is a question many scientists are still trying to answer. Other fascinating questions about migratory birds that intrigue bird enthusiasts are:  How do migratory birds know where to go? How do they orient themselves to make it all the way to their target destinations? Where do they get the energy and water to fuel their flight day after day sometimes without stopping?

Don’t you want to know more? Visit us next week if you’d like to learn more about spring migration!

To participate in the “Signs of Spring” Challenge please click here: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration/challenge/signs-of-spring-1/signs-of-spring

Until next time!

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