How do Migratory Birds Find Their Way?

            Every spring, millions of birds migrate from their winter places of the temperate regions of the world, in order to breed. These regions have abundance of food where they can rear their hungry chicks.

Migratory Birds

            The biggest migrations are to the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. There is some migration to the southern hemisphere also. For example, the double-banded dotted flies form Australia to New Zealand to breed. The America golden plover undertakes a non-stop flight of 3325 kilometers form Alaska to Hawaii. In the northern hemisphere, wild geese fly north to their breeding grounds in spring and fly south in the autumn.

            Migration is mainly triggered by changes in the length of the day, which cause a change in the bird’s hormonal balance.

            Now the question is- how do the birds find their way while migrating from one place to another, and then manage to return to their original place?

            Young birds learn about migration from their parents. They make the first migration with the older birds, which have made the trip before. The bigger birds familiarize their young ones with the migration route. Landmarks such as mountains, lakes and coastlines, guide some birds. Other may use the sun and stars to navigate. When they sky is cloudy, they often get lost. Scientists still do not know full, how all migratory birds find their way.

            Birds are not the only animals that migrate. Many fish, mammals, flying insects, locusts, and eels also migrate.