Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Migratory Birds Returning

It's migration time and it's so exciting getting to see "our" migratory birds return. The Brown Thrasher seemed to arrive with his mate which made me Google to see if they mate for life. Can't find that they do. They sure tanked down the suet upon arrival. Not that they had very far to go since they winter in the southeastern states.

We also have our Gray Catbirds back, who also winter over in the southeastern states. Seems two males arrived with one female being chased by both. The situation is now settled and the pair have been feeding at the front porch suet feeders also. Funny ... there are two feeders there, but they like to be on the same feeder. How romantic!  Last year we got to see the Catbird babies as they left the nest since it was at eye level.

Here's a great article from National Wildlife Federation about birds that are migratory marvels:

Last year, an international team used geolocators to trace the impressive migratory journey of the Arctic tern, confirming that these birds migrate the longest distance of any animal—close to 50,000 miles a year (with stops), or the equivalent of 3 journeys to the moon and back over a tern’s roughly 30-year lifetime.

Today lightweight devices such as geolocators are revolutionizing the tracking of migratory birds and, in the process, documenting astonishing new records for distance and endurance. The first surprising discovery came in 2007, when wildlife biologists used surgically implanted satellite transmitters to show that migrating bar-tailed godwits fly from Alaska to New Zealand without once stopping to refuel. At 7,100 miles in just over 8 days, the migration was, and remains, the longest nonstop flight ever recorded. Read the entire article.

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