To Be, or Not to Be…a Migrating Bird!

April 30, 2020

by Aaron Pflug • Kidzeum Staff

Most of us are probably familiar with the basics of bird migration. We delight in seeing the first arrivals, heralds of an impending Spring. And, we are equally aware of the coming cold and shorter days that follow the departing flocks in Fall. Birds come when it’s warm and leave when it starts to get cold. Simple!

Except, of course, it’s not!

Depending on the species, migration can look very different. You’ve got some birds who don’t move too far and some who regularly travel thousands of miles…and everything in between. While the exact reason – specific mating/nesting sites, desired food source, etc. – for migrating may differ by species, the underlying drive is the same: an instinctive need to survive. And, while the journey may be perilous, the benefits of migration far outweigh the risks.

But, for many birds, migrating anywhere just isn’t part of the plan! These birds have developed behavioral or physical traits – like the ability to molt in some birds who stay put in colder weather – that allow them to survive seasonal changes. Their food supply may be altered or greatly reduced by changing conditions, but it won’t disappear completely – and, with so many other birds migrating, competition will be minimized. Furthermore, the additional time spent in a specific area gives these birds the opportunity to search out the best nesting and feeding sites. Just like the birds who migrate, they are inherently doing what gives them the best chance to survive.

Regardless of whether birds migrate or not, they play important roles in their habitats and the ecosystems they pass through, even briefly. So be sure to give our fair-weather, feathered friends a proper thanks before they go in a few months and help the winter population by keeping those bird feeders full all year!

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