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Partial Migration — Killdeer Play Leap Frog

The cries of a Killdeer are familiar across most of the US during spring and summer. But where do they go in winter? Killdeer that breed in the southern half of the US and along the Pacific Coast are year-round residents. But those that breed in the northern US and Canada, where winter conditions... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Late Fall Sounds to Listen For

By the time November rolls around, the bird songs of summer can seem a distant memory.But there’s always something to listen for. Small birds like chickadees and kinglets, including the Golden-crowned Kinglet pictured here, often mix in flocks while foraging. Geese can be heard overhead in the... read more »


Red Knot Migration

Thanks to radio transmitters, scientists have vastly increased their knowledge of Red Knot migration patterns. For example, the vast majority of Red Knots on the Pacific Coast rely on a small number of places to rest and feed during spring migration from Mexico to the Arctic. Those locations... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

North with the Spring - Migration

American naturalist Bruce Beehler — inspired by Edwin Way Teale's similar journey in 1947 — is following the spring songbird migration to build greater appreciation for birds. In partnership with American Bird Conservancy, Beehler is traveling from the Gulf of Mexico to the boreal forest of... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, migration

Waterfowl Migration in Flux

Waterfowl such as this Greater White-fronted Goose have long followed a predictable schedule, flying south in autumn after breeding in the north. But for some birds, climate change may be delaying fall migration. Beginning in 1979, scientists in northern Europe recorded migration dates of geese... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Swifts Roost in Chimneys

What could bring crowds of people out after sunset on a September evening to stare at  . . . a chimney? Swifts, of course! Scores of swifts form a funnel-shaped cloud above the right kind of chimney, then they begin their descent. First one, then a few more, then dozens, then hundreds swirl... read more »

Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, ecology, migration

The Demise of the Passenger Pigeon

On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo. It’s hard to believe there were billions of Passenger Pigeons in the early nineteenth century.By 1900, there were none left in the wild. The last Passenger Pigeon became a symbol of how easily we can... read more »

Topics & Themes:  ecology, migration, ornithology, science

Nighttime Flights of Songbirds

Some cloudless night in September, when the air is clear, you may see birds flying across the yellow face of the moon! September is peak migration time for millions of songbirds heading south from North America to more tropical latitudes. Nocturnal migrants of the same species, such as orioles,... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

A Vast Unseen Migration

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... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Matthiessen Wind Birds

In The Wind Birds: Shorebirds of North America, nature writer and novelist Peter Matthiessen wrote: “The restlessness of shorebirds, their kinship with the distance and swift seasons, the wistful signal of their voices down the long coastlines of the world make them, for me, the most affecting of... read more »