Set a Place for Your Globe-trotting Guests
More than 300 bird species found in North America during the summer make their way to Central and South America or the Caribbean, some covering distances of nearly 7,000 miles. Parks, backyards and nature refuges across the country will host these winged visitors as the birds make their way to their winter homes.
Migration is a fascinating part of bird behavior. Besides the amount of daylight, it appears that age, sex, weather and the availability of food, water and shelter are the major factors in migratory behavior.
While migration is still not completely understood, it appears that some birds orient themselves by the stars on clear nights while others seem to have a built-in magnetic compass. Some birds travel over large bodies of water, and birds commonly lose one-fourth to one-half of their body weight during such over-water migration.
In order to survive their grueling trip, birds accumulate fat prior to migration. This physiological change helps the birds maintain their energy reserves.
Not only can we enjoy migrating birds as they pass through our area, but we can also play a role in their survival by providing food, water, habitat and/or shelter to help them conserve and replenish their energy supply during their journey. Foods that are high in fat, such as suet, Bark Butter and a seed blend with lots of sunflower seeds, help birds refuel their energy supply.