Migration of animals are movements of animals in large numbers from one place to another. In modern usage the term is usually restricted to regular, periodic movements of populations away from and back to their place of origin. A single round trip may take the entire lifetime of an individual, as with the Pacific salmon ; or an individual may make the same trip repeatedly, as with many of the migratory birds and mammals. The animals may travel in groups along well-defined routes; or individuals may travel separately, congregating for breeding and then spreading out over a wide feeding area, as do some of the seals .
"migration of animals." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition . 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2010 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-migranmls.html
What makes birds migrate? It's a fact that birds have an enormous advantage over all other creatures, simply because they have feathered wings. When food is scarce, they can quickly travel to more abundant sources and easily locate their prey from the air. When winter descends, birds have little trouble relocating to warmer climates and more plentiful food sources. The combination of these abilities and events over a long period of time eventually culminated in large populations of birds leaving their summer grounds en-masse for more hospitable climates when winter approaches. This is the phenomenon we know as migration.
Some birds never migrate, but for birds that do, it is not choice but a programmed response to environmental cues. In North America there are about 350 migrating species, 250 of which are considered Neo-tropical, meaning that they winter in Mexico, Central and South America as well as the West Indies. It is generally accepted that a change in day length causes significant changes in a migrating bird's brain. Among other things, this internal change stimulates a bird's appetite in order to build up an enormous storage of fat, induces a sense of restlessness and encourages the tendency to flock together. There is safety in numbers during this long, stressful journey. It's an interesting fact that the farther north a bird's summer range is, where seasonal day length is most pronounced, the more likely it is that the species will migrate. Near the equator, where the days and nights are always of equal length, there is a much lower percentage of migrating birds. The change in daylight in a bird's winter range triggers additional hormonal changes that also prepare the bird for breeding when its return northward migration is completed.
Migratory birds are different from non-migratory birds in other ways, too. All birds have hollow bones, insulating feathers, and unique "wishbone" which powers their wings with strong pectoral muscles, and lungs which are kept constantly inflated by extra air sacs not found in other creatures. However, migratory birds tend to have much larger pectoral muscles with more blood vessels, which make them much more efficient at producing and using energy. Their wings tend to be longer and more pointed. Even their blood is different. While all birds have high concentrations of red blood cells for efficient oxygen dispersal, some migratory birds actually have two kinds of hemoglobin in their red blood cells that carry oxygen through their bodies in different ways. This is what allows them to fly at high altitudes where the oxygen levels are very low. Another interesting difference about some migrating birds is that their activity period shifts from daytime to nighttime right before they begin to leave. Traveling at night and at high altitudes, birds can take advantage of the lack of predators, a calm air mass and have a lesser chance of overheating or dehydrating. Most songbirds and shorebirds migrate at night.
In North America there are four major migration routes, known as the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific Flyways. A flyway can generally be described as a broad geographical area of travel consisting of hundreds of widely diverse, individual migration routes. No two species of birds will travel exactly the same route from beginning to end. As these routes continue further south, they tend to blend and converge. In Panama, all the North American Flyways merge into one and then spread out again throughout South America. Of course, some birds have already reached their winter grounds long before the flyways merge, while others will continue farther south to reach theirs. Flyways tend to follow major geographical landmarks, such as the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, along the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River. For the most part, migration routes and the Flyways are along areas with no major mountains or water areas to cross and offer the longest line of sight. This brings us to the next factor in migration; navigation. Migrating birds navigate with a combination of different methods. Along with sighting visual landmarks, following rivers, coastlines and mountains, birds also have a mineral called magnetite in their brains. It is thought that this mineral enables a bird to monitor the earth's magnetic fields to guide them north and south. Generally it is known that birds migrating by day also use the sun as a reference point, while birds migrating by night use the stars. And it's probable that birds follow other flocks. What is not known is how birds compensate for and overcome changing constellations, sunless days, interferences in magnetic fields caused by radio towers and the like. Somehow the birds are able to recalibrate their magnetic compasses based on the visual cues that are available to them at different times.
At some point in the distant past, survival of the fittest determined that some birds were more likely to thrive if they migrated rather than remaining in the same area year round. However, migrating birds encounter many more obstacles now than even a hundred years ago. Among these include loss of nesting habitat along the flyways as grasslands are converted to croplands, loss of coastal resting areas, loss of rainforests in the South Americas, interference by planes, skyscrapers and towers to name just a few. All of this has shown to cause a significant decline in some migratory bird species. However, there is good news. Working from information gathered by the BBS (Bird Breeding Survey) and other sources, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation began an extensive program in 1991 called Partners in Flight. Involving many organizations on local, state and federal levels, as well as conservation groups, individuals and philanthropic groups, this program is dedicated to the preservation of migrating birds, providing research and millions of dollars to the cause. As a result, they have been instrumental in the protection of avian habitats and strive to improve education, research, and the management of migratory birds.
Many backyard birders find themselves located in a flyway zone or on at least one migratory route. Resting places along these routes are vital to traveling birds. Sometimes they will stop for only a day, but many times birds need several days in their resting location to build up enough fuel for the next leg of the trip. If you wish to lend a helping hand to these birds, it's easy to provide the basic necessities; food, water, and shelter . Shelter can be ornamental shrubbery or even branches from dead trees piled in a corner of your property. If you have a brook or creek that has open water in the winter time, you won't need to worry about a water supply, but if not, you might want to consider heated water in the form of a bird bath heater or even a bath that has a built-in heater . Food choices are endless. Seed blends , fruit , suet or even stale baked goods will be well received. If you are lucky enough to live near a flyway or migratory route, spring and fall are very exciting times!
INTERESTING FACTS AND OTHER LINKS TO SOME MIGRATION ARTICLES
Scientists have suspected for a while that birds navigate their way around the world while migrating south using the Earth's magnetic field as a guide. However, the mechanism by which this happens is not understood. New research is suggesting that birds are able to “see” the Earth's magnetic field as if it were a pattern of colors by the method of quantum entanglement. The idea that birds have the ability to see the invisible magnetic fields all around us as different colors is fascinating to think about.
Baby golden eagle miraculously survives Utah wildfire
Published July 08, 2012 Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY – A baby golden eagle is recovering at a wildlife rehabilitation facility after officials say it miraculously survived a Utah wildfire last month.
Kent Keller told The Salt Lake Tribune he feared the worst when he returned to the nest site west of Utah Lake to retrieve a leg band he had attached to the male eaglet June 1.
But the veteran Utah Division of Wildlife Resources volunteer found the burned bird alive on June 28 behind a charred tree, about 25 feet below the nest that was burned to a crisp in the 5,500-acre Dump Fire near Saratoga Springs.
"I thought there was no chance he would be alive. I was stunned when I saw him standing there," Keller said. "I thought maybe I could rebuild the nest a little bit, but I took a good look at him and realized that was not going to happen."
The 70-day-old eaglet had suffered burns on his talons, beak, head and wings. His flight feathers were melted down to within an inch or two of his wing and tail. He's very underweight at just over five pounds.
Keller realized the eagle would not fly for at least a year and that the parents eventually would stop providing food. Not a stick from the nest was left after the fire sparked by target shooters swept through.
"I've seen nests burn before, but this is the first year I have seen one burn with young in it," he told the Tribune. "They are usually long gone and flying when fire season starts."
After permission was secured from state and federal wildlife agencies, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah in Ogden assumed care of the eaglet this week.
"I wasn't sure he was going to make it," said DaLyn Erickson, executive director of the center. "He kind of had that look like he may have given up."
But the eagle named Phoenix has since taken to eating beef heart and venison. He's treated several times a day for his burns and seems to be gaining strength.
"He looks good now," said Amber Hansen, a member of the center's board of directors. "But we think if he had been there (at the nest site) another day, he probably would not have survived."
What seems to have saved his life during the fire was the insulation offered by his down feathers and once-thick body, according to the wildlife rehabilitation center.
Officials hope the bird can be released back into the wild next year, but say it's too early to tell about its future. Volunteers will work to keep him as wild as possible.
"It depends on how much follicle damage there is to his wings," Hansen said. "If they are not too burned, he should be able to molt into new feathers next year and hopefully be able to fly."
GULF OIL SPILL
Article published August 12, 2010
"The marsh is coming back, sprigs are popping up," said Alexander S. Kolker, marsh expert and coastal geologist with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. With the National Science Foundation, he's looking at the spill's effect on Louisiana's vast marsh - where trappers, shrimpers, and alligator hunters have made their living for generations. Coastal Louisiana is covered in a thick mat of salt marshes that thrive on the Gulf's edge. The marshes provide life support for fauna and flora in the Gulf, said Bob Thomas, a Loyola University zoologist, and up to 90 percent of commercial fisheries depend on them for some stage of fish development. Even before the spill, south Louisiana had been losing 25 square miles of marsh a year, a total of 2,300 square miles since the 1930s, mostly from levee construction, logging, shipping, and oil drilling. Only about 5,300 square miles of marsh and swamp remain. Associated Press calculations indicate that at most, 3.4 square miles of Louisiana marsh were oiled, an area stretched out over hundreds of miles of coast. At least some areas appear to have begun to bounce back. Ivor van Heerden, a BP-hired environmental scientist, said the damage may be even less. He said federal, state, and BP teams have found only 550 acres of marsh that have been oiled, less than 1 square mile. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concurred with Mr. van Heerden's figure but said it and other federal agencies are still calculating just how much marsh was oiled and what the effect has been, agency spokesman Ben Sherman said. Marsh closest to the Gulf took the worst, absorbing oil and keeping it from oozing farther inland. Even losing a little would be a blow to the ecosystem. Michael Blum, a Louisiana State University biologist who toured Barataria Bay Tuesday, said some grass won't stick around much longer. "You're seeing exposed roots," he said. "The expectation is that you will have loss of the protective sheet, you have marsh that anchors the marsh in place, and if they die off, they no longer have that anchor." Many questions remain about how much damage the spill inflicted. Scientists want to understand the effects of the chemical dispersants BP used and look at how the smallest forms of life, things like fiddler crabs and spiders, have been affected. Irving A. Mendelssohn, a coastal plant ecologist at Louisiana State University, said the wetlands data so far are good news for fishermen who depend on the ecosystem to produce shrimp, menhaden, and other seafood. "My gut feeling, based on what I have seen, based on the recovery people have observed, I doubt that the impact to the wetlands is going to create a significant problem for our coastal fisheries," Mr. Mendelssohn said. The news isn't all good, though. U.S. officials have recovered more than 1,000 oil-soaked turtles from the Gulf in recent weeks. Officials have been tracking the number of oiled turtles recovered since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20. The oil continued to spew into the Gulf for nearly three months. The number of turtles began to spike in late July. Of the 1,000 sea turtles recovered since the spill began, 487 were alive and 516 dead, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said. About 570 sea turtles have been found stranded on the coast's beaches, six times the number reported in previous years, said David Mizejewski of the National Wildlife Federation.
528 U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel are actively responding to the Deepwater BP Oil Spill.
Clean-up crews are working in Barataria Bay in Louisiana. A leaking wellhead was found on the Gulf side of East Timbalier Island in Louisiana. Crews are deploying hard boom at the mouth of Pass A Loutre, LA.
Hand crews and excavators continue to remove oil on the Perdue Unit of the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama.
St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge in Florida reports booms are in place at Indian Pass. Due to strong current, booms must be repositioned each morning.
Birds will be moved from the facility in Ft. Jackson, LA to Covington, LA. The move is scheduled for some time in mid to late July. The Mobile Command Center continues to need more teams to maintain a one-hour response time for the entire spill area.
Aerial missions are planned over Barataria Bay, Timbalier and Terrebonne Bay, South West Pass and Chandaleur Islands, Biloxi Marsh and Breton Sound
National Audubon Effort
In early June, National Audubon launched the NATIONAL OIL SPILL VOLUNTEER RESPONSE CENTER. It will use the facility in Moss Point, Mississippi along with organizers deployed to affected areas in four states to contact, coordinate and mobilize more than 13,000 volunteers who signed up with Audubon in the first weeks of the disaster. That number is expected to grow.
Interested volunteers may register online at www.audubon.org and will be contacted shortly as opportunities arise.
Anticipated volunteer activities include:
• Volunteer Response Center Staff — scheduling volunteers, identifying and coordinating engagement with new projects, logistical support, arranging training, office management, etc.
• Coastal Bird Survey — collecting data and photos on bird resources and impacts across the coast according to specific scientific protocols.
• Wildlife Transport Facilitator —assisting USFWS and Tri-State Bird Rescue with volunteers scheduled in round-the-clock shifts in key locations for injured/oiled wildlife recovery and transport operations throughout the coastal region.
• Bird Capture and Rescue Materials — volunteers are needed to make nets, cages and other materials to assist trained professionals in oiled bird rescue efforts.
• Citizen Science Monitoring — submitting electronic information on birds sightings at Important Bird Areas, refuges or sanctuaries to assess population impacts, numbers of target species or species of concern
• Bird Hotline Operators –- providing on-site bird expertise for our Volunteer Response Center as well as possibly in field offices of BP, Tri-State Bird Rescue and others involved in response efforts to address issues related to bird sightings, handling, species identification, etc.
To track the sightings of birds by species along the coastline:
Scientists to Investigate Wind Power Impacts on Migratory Wildlife
Racine, WI & Ithaca, NY, July 23, 2009—Thirty top wildlife scientists have announced agreement on some of the highest research priorities to help America’s rapidly growing wind energy industry produce much-needed alternative energy—while also providing safe passage for birds and bats. This coalition of scientists from industry, government, nongovernmental organizations, and universities met recently in Racine, Wisconsin, to address unanswered questions about how continued wind energy development will affect migrating birds and bats. The meeting was hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the American Bird Conservancy, and The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread.
“We see great potential in wind energy for … reducing America’s reliance on fossil fuels,” said Dr. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy. “It’s critical we act now to understand the interactions between wind energy installations and birds and bats.”
“Billions of birds migrate annually, taking advantage of the same wind currents that are most beneficial for producing wind energy,” said Dr. Andrew Farnsworth of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “We know that in some locations a small percentage of wind turbines may cause the majority of bird and bat deaths. For example, Altamont Pass, east of Oakland, California, is an extreme case: in an area used regularly by migrant and resident raptors, only a fraction of the 5,000 turbines are responsible for most of the raptor deaths annually. As wind power develops further, we need to know more about how placement, design, and operation impact birds and bats as well as how habitat and weather conditions affect potential hazards.”
The scientists addressed the critical information that could be collected using cutting-edge tools such as weather surveillance radar, thermal imaging, and microphones directed skyward to map migrations by day and night. New research will build upon monitoring and research studies of birds and bats before and after construction of existing wind energy facilities as well as work done by other researchers. The coalition appointed working groups to move this new research agenda forward. Top research priorities identified by the coalition include:
• Studying bird and bat behaviors and more accurately estimating mortality at existing wind turbines
• Conduct research on the best methods for mitigating the impacts of wind energy development on birds and bats
“Conducting this research will help the wind industry make informed, science-based decisions about where future wind energy projects can be built, and how they can be operated to minimize the impact on migrating wildlife, while still providing much-needed alternative energy,” said Dr. John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “It will also help flesh out specific guidelines for wind farm construction being developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
US FISH and WILDLIFE INFORMATION
The US Fish and Wildlife Service are searching for oiled wildlife throughout the spill region, rescuing injured birds and animals, and assisting in the joint effort to ensure they are safely cleaned and released.
Many species of wildlife face grave risk from the spill.
Birds can be exposed to oil as they float on the water or dive for fish through oil-slicked water. Oiled birds can lose the ability to fly and can ingest the oil while preening.
Sea turtles such as loggerheads and leatherbacks can be impacted as they swim to shore for nesting activities. Turtle nest eggs may be damaged if an oiled adult lies on the nest.
Oil has the potential to persist in the environment long after a spill and have long-term impacts on fish and wildlife.
Invitation to BIRDS show at the Michelson Museum in Marshall, TX July 6 - September 26, 2010
Chapman's current body of work initially began as a group of portraits of her favorite Galveston birds, but she has included many Caddo Lake birds for this exhibit. The birds are painted on cigar boxes, chosen because they represent a place to store treasures. The depiction of birds, used as a symbol of spirit, is a subject Isabelle Scurry Chapman has returned to over the years. This passion was instilled early on through her father's gift of a Peterson Field Guide to Birds , and their shared trips to a fishing camp where she became acquainted with a blind man who could identify birds by sound. I n 1975 she met Jim Blackburn through her husband, and it was he who taught her the true art of bird watching.
216 North Bolivar Street
Marshall , TX 75670
The 2011 Eaglefest has been rescheduled to Saturday, February 19 at the Rains County Junior High School Auditorium, Emory Texas.
The 2011 GBBC will take place Friday, February 18, through Monday, February 21
15th Annual Whooping Crane Festival is scheduled for Feb 24-27 2011 in Port Aransas