Get out your binoculars—birds are making their annual trek north
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 now that spring is nearly here. Spring begins March 19. Right now, dozens of species of birds have left their winter homes in the south. They are embarking on their annual journey north as part of spring migration. In the coming weeks, even more will spread their wings. And they will follow the same route their ancestors did.
Spring is a particularly wonderful time for bird watching. This is according to Timothy Guida, 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, since birds are anxious to reach their breeding grounds and begin mating.
"During the fall, the timespan for migration is much broader, since 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, since timing is more imperative for birds to begin reproducing and raising young."
Birds already on their epic odyssey include pectoral sandpipers, great egrets, ospreys, western kingbirds, scissor-tailed flycatchers and brown thrashers, according to a report published by BirdCast, a subsection of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. And birds aren't the only species in migration mode. Monarch butterflies are also leaving their winter homes for the north. 
With all the diversity to be seen among spring migrators, you might worry about how to make the most of your bird watching excursion.
"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

  • heracliog-ver
    3/17/2017 - 09:13 a.m.

    It's almost time for people it look for amazing birds to come back also butterflies too they are coming back so birds watchers.

  • olivial-orv
    3/20/2017 - 07:04 p.m.

    Birds migrate because of temperatures and food. Lack of food, and freezing temperatures. And most animals don't migrate because they hibernate instead.

  • haidenf-sto
    3/21/2017 - 03:06 p.m.

    Because when it gets cold out there blood is cold so they go south where its warmer.

  • kimberlyc-
    3/24/2017 - 08:36 a.m.

    Birds migrate to the north to breed and to get food because if they were to say in the south they would run of of food

  • emilyc1-dav
    3/30/2017 - 05:46 p.m.

    I think this article is very interesting about how different bird species can be seen in areas where they do not usually go. One thing I find interesting is when this article states, "during the spring the males have on their beautiful plumage to attract mates." That reminds me of when I want to visit a plantation and I saw that the male birds kept opening their wings and standing on the tops of tree branches. Another thing I find interesting about this article is when the article says, "During the fall, the timespan for migration is much broader." In conclusion, this article has taught me a lot and it helps me have more knowledge about the different species of birds.

  • gabrield-tuc
    3/23/2020 - 04:57 a.m.

    I think that it is good advise to focus on one or two species of birds at a time to become an excellent ornithologist.

  • JustinJ-rho1
    4/21/2020 - 12:06 p.m.

    Birds migrate because they need food, and when winter comes, all the food goes away, so they go to the much warmer south, live there, and then return once winter has passed.

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