Why do birds migrate?

Who does not love travelling!? Well not many would do so, and hence a majority of the people would agree that travelling is indeed an inseparable part of the human life.

And what’s interesting to note is that the habit and love for travelling is not just restricted among human beings, but also goes no to extend beyond into other living forms, especially the domain of birds.

Come lets find out more!


To Migrate

It is a common visual to see skies full of migratory birds, especially twice a year: once in summer and in winter. The usual logic behind such specific periods of migration is that to find more food resources in winter and good breeding spots in summers. Hence some birds will fly immense long distances in order to find that perfect spot which fits their immediate seasonal requirements.

Such a phenomenon is known as migration.

Migratory Bird Species

Howsoever common migration might appear, however it is not all species of birds who actually migrate to far off lands for their needs. Species like flamingos, ducks, geese, etc. are some of the very known kinds of migratory birds.

These birds during hot summers look out for immediate respite in terms of locating abundant food supply, and hence migrate off to colder places for finding food. Conversely, in winters when it is difficult for them to breed in areas of freezing temperatures, they instead migrate off to places of bright sunny summery weathers so as to be able to breed in complete solemnity.

The Arctic Tern

Among all other migratory birds, the Arctic Tern is one such unique bird which happens to undergo the most longest period of migration; by covering a huge distance from Arctic to Antarctic and back again each year.

Their entire period of migration is categorised into two sections: Breeding in Artic and then resting in Antarctica.

The young chicks of the Arctic Tern is raised in the bright summer months of the Arctic, an area abundant with food resources. On the other hand, when the winter sets in Arctic in the months of November-February, they begin to face scarcity of food and temperatures inadequate for sustenance. Hence these birds migrate towards Antarctica where awaits the bright summers.

Covering Long Distance

For annually covering such a long distance, these terns need extra strength and energy to undertake such long journeys. This majorly depends on their feed, which is particularly derived from eating fish. While flying south bound towards Antarctica, the Arctic Tern finds abundance of fresh water lakes that harbour a strong fish resource, and they can easily hunt on them.

Fun Facts

  • Apart from birds, even species of insects like lizards and butterflies, and even some animals like reindeers do also undergo migration in certain locations!
  • In an average, the Arctic tern supposedly flies at least the same distance as a trip to the Moon and back in its lifetime by migrating annually!

Related Questions:

  1. Do migratory birds nest temporarily at some locations?
  2. What are the migratory birds in our country India?
  3. Why are lakes the common places to cite migratory birds?

Objective Questions:

  • Migration in some birds is an _______ process.
  • ________ and _______ are the two main reasons behind migration of birds.
  • ___________ is a migratory bird which covers the longest distance from Arctic to Antarctica.
  • Arctic Terns breed in ________ months.
  • ________ seasons bring scarcity of food in migratory birds.

True Or False:

  1. Insects and animals can also migrate: ________
  2. Migratory birds can endure unfavourable living conditions: _______
  3. Terns are originated from Arctic: _______
  4. Arctic Terns feed on grass mostly: _______
  5. Migration occurs annually in some species of birds: ________

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