by Kathy Ross
Feathers, hollow bones, no more than air cloaked in brilliant hues. Our neotropical birds migrate at speeds up 100 mph, at elevations as high as 15,000 feet, for up to 8 hours at a stretch or some never stopping for thousands of miles. To top off this feat, they know their way to Mexico or South American in the fall and back to North America and Canada in the spring to breed. Migratory birds hatch with a road map in their brain. They orient via the sun, or the stars, or on a cloudy day some actually read the magnetic field of the earth to find their way.
World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated this year on May 9. The conservation theme focuses on the tracking technologies used to explore the routes of migratory birds across the globe, and how this knowledge is used to inform conservation. To learn more check out www.migratorybirdday.org/.