The sky is not the same without any birds in it. The sight of a flock of birds in the sky, flying in formation is one of the most awe-inspiring sights. Migration is the periodic large scale movement of a species between its summer home and its winter home. This is a survival tendency of birds that has evolved over time.
Birds tend to migrate for the following reasons:
- Search for food: birds migrate from colder climates to warmer climates in search of insects and budding plants.
- Nesting locations: birds also tend to migrate to warmer climates in search of appropriate nesting locations.
- Climate: Bird’s plumage has evolved over time. Some species of birds, especially their young are unable to survive in extremely cold or extremely hot climates.
- Predators: bird habitats that have an abundance of food all year round tend to attract more predators. Some bird species migrate to survive this phenomenon.
- Disease: bird colonies that have a large number of birds crammed into a small space can cause entire bird colonies to be wiped out due to infection and the quick spread of disease.
The difference between migration and hibernation is that some animals (like the bear), to escape the harsh winters, sleep for the entire season. This is in the same location where they usually live and so no travelling is involved.
Common migratory birds that migrate to India in the winter season are:
- Siberian Cranes
- Greater Flamingo
- Black winged Stilt
- Common Teal
- Common Greenshank
- Northern Pintail
- Yellow Wagtail
Common migratory birds that migrate to India in the summer season are:
- Asian Koel
- Black crowned Night Heron
- Eurasian Golden Oriole
- Comb Duck
- Blue-cheeked Bee Eater
- Blue-tailed Bee-Eater
The bird sanctuaries provide them with the appropriate environment to survive when they migrate. They also provide a safe environment for birds that are on the verge of extinction. India has over 50 bird sanctuaries, of which the most famous are:
- Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan
- Chilka Lake Bird Sanctuary, Odisha
- Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Gurgaon
- Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Kerala
- Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat
In order to prepare for the hard work of migration, many birds enter a state called hyperphagia, in which they fill up on food in the preceding weeks to store fat, which they later use as energy on their long journeys.
The Arctic Tern, which is less than 125 grams, is known to travel a distance of 80,000 kms over a year for migration. It makes a round trip between the Arctic and the Antarctic.
If you have any questions related to migration of birds, leave a comment below.