Get out your binoculars—birds are making their annual trek north Point Reyes National Seashore is one of the best birding spots in the country, boasting nearly 500 species. (Macduff Everton/Corbis/Fred Bavendam/Minden Pictures/Corbis)
Get out your binoculars—birds are making their annual trek north

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Daffodils, cherry blossoms and tulips aren't the only things brightening up the thawing landscape. Spring is nearly here. It begins March 20. Right now, dozens of species of birds have left their winter homes in the south. They are embarking on their annual journey north. It is part of spring migration. In the coming weeks, even more will spread their wings. They will follow the same route their ancestors did.
Spring is a particularly wonderful time for bird watching. This is according to Timothy Guida. He is a research technician at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. He spoke with
"During the spring, the males have on their beautiful plumage to attract mates," he says. "So you'll see birds at their most vibrant."
Another bonus to spring migration is that it occurs as a mass movement. It takes place over a shorter timeframe than its fall counterpart. That is because birds are ready to reach their breeding grounds and begin mating.
"During the fall, the timespan for migration is much broader. Birds typically start leaving once the temperature drops and there's a lack of food," says Guida. "But in the spring, you'll see more of a blitz over the span of several weeks. Timing is more imperative for birds to begin reproducing and raising young."
Birds already on their epic odyssey include pectoral sandpipers, great egrets and ospreys. Western kingbirds, scissor-tailed flycatchers and brown thrashers are also on the move. This is according to a report published by BirdCast. It is a subsection of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 

Birds aren't the only species in migration mode. Monarch butterflies are also leaving their winter homes. They are heading north. 
With all the diversity to be seen among spring migrators, you might worry about how to make the most of your bird watching trip.
"My advice is to not stress out by trying to see everything at once. But instead, focus on one or two species. And see if you can identify them," Guida says. 

"I think people know more about birds than they realize. By comparing the birds you're seeing to the ones you already know, you can start piecing everything together by color or size and develop birding skills that way."

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Most animals do not migrate. Why do birds migrate?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • samuelt-obr
    3/21/2017 - 01:42 p.m.

    Birds are one of the only animals that migrate, but why? Birds migrate because they could die from the cold if they didn't. I think birds are very cool and are fun to study. I like eagles the most. They are very cool, especially when they go down and pick up a fish from the water.

  • sophiea-obr
    3/21/2017 - 01:43 p.m.

    A lot of birds migrate but most animals don't.They migrate because the temperature drops and it starts to get cold. I think the reason why they leave when the temperature drops is because they want to lay there eggs in the warm part of the world instead the cold part because the baby birds could die from getting to cold. I wonder how they know where to go? Whooper swans,ducks, and geese migrate. I wonder how far those birds have to fly to get to their destination. Even butterflies migrate.

  • mackenzieb-coo
    3/22/2017 - 09:10 a.m.

    birds migrate more then other animals. birds have to migrate because they might not have food or the temperature is dropping. in the text it sates "Birds typically start leaving once the temperature drops and there's a lack of food". this is showing that they would have to move to warmer areas and also they might run out of food so that's another reason to migrate

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