Migration is a fascinating part of bird behavior. More than 300 bird species found in North America during the summer are making their way to Latin America and the Caribbean, some covering distances of nearly 7,000 miles.
Besides the amount of daylight, it appears that age, sex, weather and the availability of food, water and shelter are major factors in migratory behavior. While migration is still not totally understood, it appears that some birds orient themselves by the stars on clear nights while others seem to have a built-in magnetic compass. Some birds travel over large bodies of water, and it is not uncommon for birds to lose 1/4 to 1/2 of their body weight during overwater migration.
Nature enthusiasts can play a vital role in birds’ survival by providing food, water, habitat and/or shelter to help them conserve and replenish their energy supply during migration. It’s also a very exciting time for bird watchers and bird feeding enthusiasts because many bird species that are not native to your area will be passing through. Keep your feeders full – you may spot some fun visitors!