Spotlight on … Spring Migrations

Every spring, 5 billion North American birds fly north to their summer breeding grounds. Most migrate at night, and can be disoriented by artificial light. You can help make their journey safer by turning off lights at night during peak migration, April to June.

A thrush can travel 3,000 miles from Panama to Canada, its wings beating more than 600 times per minute. It averages about 158 miles of flight per night.

Migration is dangerous. For some songbirds, more than 85% of annual deaths occur during migration.

The rare bristle-thighed curlew makes one of the fastest bird migrations, flying nonstop from islands and atolls across the South Pacific to Alaska in a matter of days.

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership is working to restore a migratory population of whooping cranes. They lead young cranes on their fall migration to wintering grounds in Florida with an ultralight aircraft. The birds make the return flight to their summering grounds on their own.

Sources: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy