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A Vast Unseen Migration

Millions of seabirds on the move!
© Ryan Shaw View Large

During late summer, these Sooty Shearwaters will join a vast migration, when millions of seabirds fly over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Jaegers that nested on the Arctic tundra are flying south to tropical oceans. Arctic Terns and skuas make an epic journey to Antarctic waters. Shearwaters in the tens of millions leave northern oceans to nest in the Southern Hemisphere, many near New Zealand. Even puffins bid farewell to their shoreline nesting cliffs, scattering widely across the open ocean for the winter.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  

A Vast, Unseen Migration Offshore 

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Sounds of waves, gulls]

Late August is a fine time to walk the ocean beach. Weather is growing mild; gulls jabber overhead; waves gently lap the sand. But look out to sea: if your eyes could take you beyond the horizon, you would see an astonishing scene. 

A vast migration is taking place. Offshore, over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, millions of seabirds are on the move. Most are heading south, migrating past the US coastlines in August and September. 

Fierce, predatory jaegers that nested on the Arctic tundra are flying south to win-ter on tropical oceans. Arctic Terns and skuas are departing on an epic journey, flying all the way to Antarctic waters. [Arctic Tern] 

Shearwaters in the tens of millions leave northern oceans to nest in the Southern Hemisphere, many near New Zealand. Even puffins bid farewell to their shoreline nesting cliffs now, scattering widely across the open ocean for the winter. [Sounds of waves, gulls]

Meanwhile, back on the beach with the warm August sand between our toes, we relax. We squint out into the distant blue. Above the glimmering sea, is that a single shearwater we see, tipping above the horizon? A straggler, maybe? And a clue to that immense migration taking place just beyond our sight.

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Itha-ca, New York. Ring-Billed Gull 169780 recorded by Jay MacGowan; Arctic Tern 138232 recorded by Gerrit Vyn.
Surf sounds: Surf Small Detailed SFX #21; Surf Moderate SFX #23; and Surf Distant SFX #27 from Nature Essentials recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com 
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org   August 2017  Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#   migration-20-2014-08-25          migration-20

Sights & Sounds

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