Twice a year, during spring and autumn, one of the most incredible and mysterious nature events happen - avian migration.
About half of the nearly 10,000 world bird species migrate. Millions of birds embrace the challenge of long-distance and sometimes dangerous journeys. But, why exactly do they do it?
It is believed that the main reason for migration is finding food. However, escaping from adverse weather conditions and predators are also important justifications.
Generally, birds migrate to find better ecological conditions and habitats that allow them to feed and breed. When the conditions become unfavourable they move towards regions that can offer them better conditions for their needs.
There are several different patterns of bird migration, but overall, the majority of the species migrate from northern breeding areas to southern wintering lands. But, some species do it the other way round. And others, migrate horizontally.
A flock of brant geese in their winter grounds
Changes in the environmental conditions, food availability and weather conditions trigger birds to migrate.
Yet, not every species migrates. Somehow, the other half of the world birds’ species manage to face conditions that are less favourable to other species and stay in the same region all year-round. And that is something that intrigues scientific research.
Much remains to be discovered and understood about why birds migrate, but regardless of what is known, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful nature miracles!