About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Birds switch abruptly to fly-by-night behavior at migration time

Each year, billions of songbirds set out on late winter evenings to fly to their breeding grounds. New research finds that migrating birds change abruptly from diurnal (daytime) to nocturnal activity immediately before departure. They take to the air on starry nights between dusk and midnight.

In late winter and early spring, the numbers and variety of birds appearing in your yard can actually change every morning as many small songbirds arrive. Species such as warblers, vireos, orioles, grosbeaks, tanagers, buntings, blackbirds and sparrows all migrate overnight.

It is not uncommon for birds to lose one-fourth to one-half of their body weight as they migrate thousands of miles. Make sure your yard is ready for the influx by creating a “stopover site” with plenty of food, water and shelter.

More information: Daniel Zúñiga et al. Abrupt switch to migratory night flight in a wild migratory songbird, Scientific Reports (2016). DOI: 10.1038/srep34207

Related Articles:
- The Journey North: Bird Migration Maps http://bit.ly/pbk4Eb
- Great Horned Owl Singing at Night http://bit.ly/qKeKDM
- Are Horned Larks Common in Mid-Michigan? http://bit.ly/qmAbt7
- How do Birds Migrate? http://bit.ly/nNCI6d
- What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/qa0CVU

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