We read a lot about the habit, personalities, and traits of pet bird. Now, what do we know about the wild one? Have you heard about bird migration? Avian migration is a natural phenomenon and a regular seasonal movement. The birds will fly for hundreds or even thousand kilometers, seek for a brand new place for feeding until raising their young.
Basically, the purpose of their migration is to find a better site because the previous one is changing due to weathers or climates. The majority of birds migrate from the northern breeding area to the southern wintering grounds. Some others go low during winter and move up a mountain for summer.
Migration may take a lot of time to fly, so migratory bird, or bird who migrate, need to have the perfect not only morphology but also physiology to fly for such a long time. For example, The Red Knot os one of the migratory bird with the longest total migration routes. They need to take about 16 thousand kilometers, not only once but twice a year!
So how do they navigate theirself? Studies found that migratory bird is able to orientate by the sun, the stars, and by the geomagnetic field, while the timing is oriented by the changes in day length.
Have you ever seen any migrating bird who forms a V formation? This formation shows how intelligent the V formation actually have an important purpose. Usually larger birds fly in this formation to reduce the friction effect from wings. This V formation helps them to fly more efficiently and way further than flying by itself. It is shown that V formation helps them to increase efficiency in flying up to 70 percent. But, why V? Studies found that the lead bird or the bird who is in the front of the formation and the last bird who is the fathers back in the formation are the birds who work the hardest.
While the birds who are in the middle get the benefit from the flapping motion of the other birds. The formation also helps them to communicate better since they fly close to each other. They are able to hear and watch each other. Some birds whistle and other honk or quack when giving information. So, now you know that the V formation in birds that we usually see on the cartoon is actually real and surprisingly, helpful.
There are 4 kinds of migrating birds:
- Permanent residents: the non-migrating birds who remain in their place for all year round.
- Summer residents: the birds that migrate to the north in the spring season, to the nest in summer, and return back to the south in the autumn.
- Winter resident: the birds who migrate to the south in the winter
- Transient: the birds who nest farther north than the neighborhoods, and farther south during winter. They look like they are only passing through.
Migration also has a lot of risks and difficulties. Sadly not all birds can survive during the journey. Some of them might die because of the lack of food, or die from being hunted by humans or other predators.
That’s a quick brief about migratory. Now the question is,
Do the birds’ migratory happen to all species of the birds?
One that we know is, birds migrate because they have to seek out a new place that has warmth, food source, and save enough for breeding. The bird in the Northern Hemisphere lime Canada or the United States who has 4 seasons, the birds will live happily in the season where there is enough day length to seek for food, but will have a problem when it comes to Autumn and winter because the day length becomes short, low temperature, lack of food source especially if the birds primarily eat insects such as finches or canaries, swallow or a flycatcher, or who eat fruit like type of Parrot or flower nectar like hummingbirds. They don’t have any choice but leave, right? So they migrate to the South to seek a better place.
But the birds in Southern hemisphere especially in tropical climates when there is only a little change in the day’s length from month to month, the condition is already warm enough for the birds to live. They also have enough time to seek for food supply and eat so they don’t really need to find another better place. Simply, they don’t have to migrate because they don’t experience four seasons. Home sweet home.
If the birds who primarily eat insects, fruits, and flower nectar have to migrate, the Birds that eat type of seeds or grain, or insects that hibernate in trees, for example woodpeckers, or even some carnivore who eat meat or hunt other birds like owls, wild bird such as eagles and hawks, are more likely to stay where they are. They don’t have any problem with the lack of food during winter or low temperature.
Some omnivores like blue jays, cardinal, Carolina wren, house wren, song sparrow, English sparrow, house sparrow, killdeer, and common grackle don’t need to migrate because they don’t have any urge to find another place. Their own home is already enough for them to live. They are satisfied to live where they are.
Not all birds in the Nothern Hemisphere migrate, though. Some of the birds are able to tolerate and survive in winter. For examples family species of pigeons, crows, blackbirds, and ravens. These type of birds are able to stay in the winter so they don’t really need to migrate to the South.
In some places, there are even differences between rural birds and urban birds. Males that live in cities are often able to find for food source rather than those living in the countryside, so they are more likely to stay.
So, do the birds’ migratory happen to all species of the birds? The answer is, no. Not every individual within a migrating species does migrate. It depends on their condition, climate, and the available food source.