Believe it or not, the southward migration of birds is in full swing already!
Though we may think of migration in terms of the louder, bigger species like Canada Geese, what we may not notice is that there are a whole lot of little birds on their way by too.
The numbers are astounding! In the spring, 3 billion birds migrate north to breed, and in the fall 5 billion birds pass by again, on their way to the southern US, Mexico, and Central and South America.
Many of them are tiny little birds, like this Magnolia Warbler.
Or these Common Yellowthroats, who breed around here as well as further north.
I think of the epic journeys these little birds have to make, and it astounds me. One of the first big obstacles they face in this area is crossing Lake Ontario. That’s why it is often fruitful to look for groups of these little birds in trees along the lakeshore. They are feeding and getting ready for the next leg of their journey.
And eat they do. If you are lucky, you may come across a tree just full of little birds, chowing down on bugs. Another good place to look is in trees along a stream, as migrating birds are attracted to the sound of running water, and will follow along the path of a stream as they travel.
So, keep your eyes and ears open these days. You might hear sounds you’re not accustomed to having around. Or you might spot a whole lot of movement up in a tree. If you’re lucky, you’ve found a little pocket of birds, just passing by on their way south.
When’s the best time to look? Most importantly, when the wind is from the north. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Morning is the best time to look, but it doesn’t even have to be that early. Birds need a bit of time to warm up and wake up and get going for the day, just like we do.
So, as our beautiful summer winds down, and you enjoy the great outdoors, keep a look out for some of these little, but mighty, migrants. Good luck!
Yes, shorebirds are migrating too- more on them in my next blog!