Why do birds move so far, and how can you help them during their birth?

Now that the spring is in the air, the UK is starting to see its summer visitors arrive. The Ospreys have returned to their nest, the chiffchaffs are singing their song to re -establish their lands, and the puffins have arrived at their nests around the British Isles.

A few centuries ago, people thought that the waves slept in the winter under lakes and ponds, or on the moon – but in fact, it was very silly.

We now know that animals have moved on to improve their lives – and those of their children. It also helps them in their search for food, companions or to fend off thieves.

While we think of moving as birds from one country to another, there are many animals that move. The Wildebeest, for example, makes the move around, roaming the plains of Africa in large numbers during the dry season in search of new grass. And humpback whales move to warm waters to feed their young.

However, the birds are the recorder when it comes to travel.

The bar -tailed godwit is the longest recorded migrant without stopping, with one man spending about ten days on a trip from Alaska to New Zealand without a break – a trip it covers an area of ​​12,200km (7,580 miles).

But the Arctic tern is the real leader, traveling 35,000km (22,000 miles) from the Arctic to the Antarctic and returning each year. This massive movement survives the constant summer – more sunlight than any other animal – as it hits countries like Mauritania, Ghana and South Africa, on its world tour.

How do birds find their way?

Moving is a big business – birds need to take in fats to speed up their flight and take care of themselves for the duration of their journey. Loss can be disastrous, so the birds have developed amazing navigation skills to help them fly the shortest and safest routes.

Some species have the ability to move, they are able to move to different places to improve their quality of life.

The cuckoo, for example, is not fed by its parents when cuckoo mothers place their eggs in the nests of very different birds. However, a young cuckoo can travel alone, from Europe to Africa, and back again, using a “local GPS.”

But some species, such as the Caspian tern – which migrates a long distance from its birth home in Europe to its wintering point in Africa – are a very small legacy for their migration. In most cases, they were taught by their parents, known as “cultural heritage” or social studies.

A recent study, for example, found that Caspian juveniles learn their migration path from their father, who is primarily responsible for migration with their young birds. During the trip, he shows them the perfect places to fill up with fish and crustaceans.

But, whether genetically or socially inherited, birds use a variety of natural phenomena, such as the nature of the beaches and the position of the Sun or the stars – or the Olfactory characteristics such as the smell of their nest – to help them navigate their way around the world. .

Some birds, such as homing pigeons, use a map to compare themselves to the Earth’s magnetic field as they travel.

Summer tourists of the UK

Our knowledge of bird migration has increased significantly since the development of biologgers, small data recorders attached to birds. This gives us an overview of a person’s location, speed, resting places and the time of their movement.

One such study is the cuckoo search program. This shows that some cuckoos have left central Africa around the beginning of 2022, each traveling alone for hundreds of kilometers before resting for two weeks in countries including the Ivory Coast and Morocco. Then they continued on to the next leg of their journey, and the northernmost bird arrived in France about 10 April. These cuckoos are expected to move to their homeland in the UK soon.

They are not alone. Many birds migrate to the UK for summer births. For example, wheatear also winters in Central Africa, but has returned to the UK earlier, from late February to mid -August, while the funniest – a thief of dragonflies – winters in South Africa and is in the UK from the end of April to October. .

This allows them to spend long hours of the day and a lot of food, like babies, during the UK summer months.

If you want to help birds during their birth – and at the same time help other, perennial birdwatchers, such as tits and small birds – here are some ideas.

Feeding on bird nuts, seeds and household waste such as pastry, fruit or salt, will help provide a smoother diet.

But some styles, like home martins and martins, rely on inches. So, increase the biodiversity in your garden by creating a flower garden, or join the May mow – a project from the British conservation charity, Plantlife, appeals to everyone. to “hold on to their cuttings” and let the plants grow in the month of May — which will be very beneficial.

Don’t forget, the birds need water, both for drinking and for swimming, so it’s best to swim for small birds or the wildlife pond. You can set up nest boxes to provide additional resources for our returning birds – a great replacement for the lack of natural nesting sites to feed the young, especially back in the cities.

Waking up to the sound of birds, admired by our summer visitors, along with willow warblers and nightingales, delight many of us. Let’s not forget the great journey they went on to get to our shores – and do what we can to ensure a good production time.


Like the father, like the child: the fathers guide the young birds to the first movement


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Directions: Why birds move so far, and how can you help them during their birth (2022, April 15) Retrieved 15 April 2022 from https://phys.org/ news/2022-04-birds-migrate-vast-distances-season .html

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