Birds are often seen flying in groups of hundreds to thousands. They are migrating (moving places) to a new location by covering distances of up to tens of thousands of kilometers. Why do they migrate?
Birds migrate in an effort to survive and preserve their species. They moved to places with better weather conditions and food supplies. If conditions in their area of origin return to normal, they will return again. In winter, birds from the northern hemisphere migrate to the warmer south. They fly across several countries, even between continents.
Fly Far and Fast
Some types of birds travel great distances when migrating. The blue-tailed seabird travels from Alaska near the North Pole to New Zealand in the southern hemisphere. The distance traveled by the bird with the scientific name Limosa lapponica is around 11,500 km.
There are also birds that fly at very high speeds. The great snipe (Gallinago media) flies from Sweden to the Sahara Desert nonstop in 2 – 3 days. The journey across the European Continent was carried out at a speed of 97 kilometers per hour. Wow, the speed is like a vehicle moving on the highway!
Nine Paths of Bird Migration
Every year, the same flock of birds travels the same migration route. There are hundreds or even thousands of birds in one group. In this world, there are 9 bird migration routes, that is: East Atlantic route, Black Sea-Mediterranean route, West Asia-East Africa route, Central Asia route, East Asia-Australia route, Western Pacific route, Pacific-America route, Mississippi-America route, and Atlantic-America route.
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During the long journey, the birds need to stop to rest and recharge. The stopover areas known as transit blood are usually in the form of wetlands such as lakes, swamps, mangrove forests, ponds, rice fields, and expanses of grass.
How Birds Know Their Migration Goals
There have been several studies trying to find out how birds can find their migration destination and not get lost. The results of the study showed that the birds identified their migration destinations based on the Earth’s magnetic field.
Bird eyes have an eye protein called Cry4, which allows birds to see Earth’s magnetic field. Other studies suggest that bird migration is guided by a compass of the sun and stars.