Bird migration is one of the great Unbelievable wonder of the natural world.
Bird Migration is quite interesting and amazing to see some birds flying from one corner of earth to other corner of earth.
It is quite amazing and it is far from human understanding why a bird takes epic journey which involved life threatening risks. There are reasonable chances that migratory bird has come on earth with genetic google maps otherwise how it is possible bird to take 8000 mile round trip and come back same place in vast Canadian forest. Why they have not lost on the way? And why they take this arduous risky journey??? No one has clear answers? May be it is beyond human understanding about this extra ordinary situation??
Some of unbelievable facts about migratory birds
Species: Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus
This Migratory bird cross Himalayas with using only 10% of oxygen. It can go up to 7000 meter over Himalayas.
Species: Great Snipe Gallinago media
This migratory Bird reach at the speed of 60mph over a distance of 4220 miles. Interestingly it doesn’t take any break over long journey.
Species: Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Average roundtrip distance: 90,000 km
Can you imagine this migratory bird travels 90000 km from Greenland north to weddel sea in south every year. This bird travel distance during its life span is equal to going and coming back from moon to earth 3 times.
Basics of migration
Most of the migrating birds move between summer grounds to winter grounds. They move in winter to summer location for breeding ground and then move summer to winter from breeding ground to non breeding grounds.
Migratory Birds normally migrate from areas which has low food and nesting resources to areas where these resources are abundant or increasing. Food resources include insect population and budding plants.
In winter as food resources and food drops birds start moving to summer places. Too much cold also is a motivating factor.
Types of Bird Migration
There are following types of migrations:
1. Short Distance Migration
2. Medium Distance Migration
3. Long Distance Migration
Origins of Long-Distance Migration
The reasons of birds taking epic arduous journey and leaving home are quite interesting and complex. It seems they have evolved over thousand years and are controlled by genetic makeup of the bird. Addition to this climatic factor, food sources, day length etc is also some of factors which motivate birds to take this long haul journey.
One question which is asked again and again that whether migratory birds learn this extra ordinary path way from other members of the birds or if the pathway of this long journey is encoded in genes of birds. There are reports that scientist are studying the pattern of birds of same species and hybrid species where there is mixture of genes from both parents.
What Triggers Bird Migration?
Till date full mechanism of migratory behaviour is not completely understood. This can be triggered by changes in food supplies, changes in climatic conditions and genetic makeup of particular birds.
The reason of migratory birds cannot be only food supplies and climatic conditions like temperature because people who have kept these migratory birds in cage they find these birds go through restlessness each spring and fall.
German scientists call this restlessness as zugunruhe.
How Do Birds Navigate?
It is quite interesting subject for scientific research. These migratory birds travel thousands of kilometre year after year. Most of the birds go to same place year after year.
How it is possible bird to travel thousands kilometer to same place without getting lost of way.
The secrets of amazing navigational skill is still not fully understood by human being but it seems migratory birds use compass information from sun, the stars and take help of sensing earth s magnetic field.
There is also news that they get information from the position of sun and land marks which they can see during day time.
Some migratory birds like cranes follow particular pathways which have important stopovers, where they get food supplies before they start again their epic journey.
Bird Migration Hazards
Migrating birds take a thousand kilometre journey which is in all account dangerous and most risky undertaking. It is a journey which tests bird’s physical and mental capabilities to extreme. They have to face along the way bad climatic weather, exposure to predators. There is news that they are facing growing threat from tall buildings and mobile towers as many bird species get attracted to the lights of these buildings.
Many scientists and general public attracted to this subject due to migratory birds s astonishing astounding capability of flying thousands mile each year which is quite remarkable and many secrets can be revealed after studying it and which can be used by human beings for their purpose.
Scientists are now using many techniques to study migratory birds and their way of conducting this long haul travel. Banding and satellite tracking is also going on.
Scientist also uses light weight device geolocators to know the actual pathway and locations of stop over so that proper food and safety can be provided to these birds at stop over locations.
What Is A Migrant Trap?
There are places where concentration of migrating birds are in larger number and become as birding hotspots. These spots are result of typical local weather conditions which has abundance of foods or the local topography.
Some time when birds land after facing storms, cold headwinds and very near to total exhaustion they all head for nearest location which offer food and cover and when large numbers of migrant birds collect there, called as a fallout. These places become extremely popular with general public and bird watchers.
Some time migrating birds after follow the land, stop for some time before launching over water. These places are also become hot spot and get international reputation.
These are the range maps which tell about when and where particular species might be around. Although it is very difficult to make range maps because pattern of migrating birds sometime confusing as ranges of birds can very year to year. Range maps are made with the contribution of thousands of birdwatcher around the world.
Some of Migratory Birds
Siberian Cranes – These are snow white color birds and breeds in the Russia and Siberia. These migratory birds visit India during winter.
Amar Falcon – This migratory bird breeds in Siberian and migrate to South Africa. During migration they can be seen in large nos. in and around Doyang Lake in Nagaland, India. They can be seen early morning and evening in winter season at oyang Lake.
This is the beautiful migratory bird which is largest of all species of the flamingo family. This breed can be spotted at chilka lake and Jawai Dam sanctuary in India.
Demoiselle Crane – This is the Migratory bird which visit Khichan village of Rajasthan, India in very large numbers.
Bluethroat – one of the best places to see this bird in National Park Of Bharatpur, Rajastan, india.
Black-Winged Stilt – it is a very long legged wader bird and can be seen at basai wet land and pune shallow lakes.
Blue Tailed Bee Eater – These are strongly migratory bird predominately eats Indian honey bees and hornet.
Bar Headed Goose – This migratory bird is the highest flying bird in the world. These birds can be spotted in winter at bharatpur bird sanctuary, India.
Rosy Starling – It is strong migratory bird and spends winter in India.
Great White Pelican – It is a large bird with long beak. This species comes in large nos. in India during winter.
Hundreds of millions of birds are killed each year due to man-made structures and human activities.
Threats to Birds Migration
2. Light Pollution
4. Use of pesticide
5. Global Warming
You can contribute with following:
Prevent Home Window Collisions
Prevent birds from colliding with your windows by making them visible with decals or window coverings and keeping light inside your house at night.
Buy a Bird Bath
Support Bird Conservation
Prevent Pet Predation
For those living with domestic cats, be mindful of your pet’s whereabouts and activities.
Provide and Protect Bird Habitat
Buy Bird Friendly Products
Skip Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fertilizers
Conservation and survival of these wonderful and beautiful migratory birds are very important for all of us. After so much advancement in science we are still struggling to find out how these birds do it and how they do it. This is the greatest gift to mother earth by GOD and it is our moral duty to preserve it and provide these migratory birds safe and secure environment.