What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

Why do birds migrate every year? They even took pains to fly across continents uninterruptedly for seven days and nights. For such a long route, do they orient themselves in flight without getting lost? How do they determine their flight direction and destination? Bird migration is equivalent to our human travel, but not like our human or leisure, or knowledge; bird travel is to survive, to find enough food, to reproduce future generations, to continue the population.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

Migratory Snipes at the mouth of Yalu River

Bird travel can be said to be a large-scale global migration. Thousands of snipe waterfowls come and go in the southern and northern hemispheres every year; Arctic terns travel from the Arctic to the Antarctic and then from the Antarctic to the Arctic; cranes, storks, geese and ducks, and many forest birds do not travel as far as snipes, but also from the South to the North and from the North to the South. Follow the migration route of their own lives. Just as the lyrics of “Goose Goose” tell us, “Goose Goose, flying south, flying over the reed marsh; the sky is vast, where geese go, the heart is the northern home. Swan goose, return to the north, bring my thoughts with me, singing far, the piano trembles, the grassland is warm in spring.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

Parrots in the Migration of Yalu River Estuary

Bird migration is a natural wonder

With the change of season, the migrating birds are called migratory birds and the non-migrating birds are called resident birds. In fact, migratory birds are fewer than resident birds in the world.

When they feel the breath of spring, migratory birds begin to travel from their wintering places to breeding places. During their migration, they will choose suitable posts (habitats) to stop, replenish their food and energy, and then continue to fly to their destination. At the end of autumn, migratory birds who have completed their reproductive tasks will return with their sons and daughters from the dying north to the warm, well-fed Southern wintering ground.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

The spotted-tailed snipe is looking for food at the Yalu River estuary.

Many birds have their own fixed migration routes and posts (stopovers) in the long evolutionary process. For example, red-bellied Snipes fly more than 10,000 metres from Australia to breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle, stopping for three to four weeks in the Bohai Bay to feed on smaller clams in muddy shoals to supplement themselves, while spotted-tailed Snipes rest heavily in the Yalu Estuary of the Liaodong Peninsula, feeding on the soft bodies in the deeper layers of the beach with long mouths. Animals have been shown to fly uninterruptedly for seven consecutive days and nights.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

White Crane on the Way of Migration

White cranes breed in the Yakut region of northeastern Russia, cross the Amur River on the Sino-Russian border, stop at Zhalong and Baicheng wetlands in Jilin, Panjin wetlands in Liaoning and Yellow River estuary wetlands in Shandong, and then arrive at Poyang Lake in Jiangxi for winter, flying over 5000 meters. The smallest of the cranes, the rickshaw-feathered crane, which breeds on the vast grasslands of Mongolia and Russia, assembled in September at Lake Barikun in northern China, crossing the Taklimakan Desert and the Himalayas seven or eight kilometers away on its way back to the wintering terland of Rajasthan in northwestern India. It’s about 3000 meters. Swans, geese, ducks and other different populations will have different migration routes, the general flight route is also one or two kilometers to four or five kilometers.

Many birds of prey and songbirds are also important detachments in the migration army of birds.

Where do migrating birds locate?

According to satellite tracking of migratory birds, scientists have found that many birds do not have only one destination. For example, most ducks and terns migrate only towards a certain direction or a general destination. But some birds have very clear destinations. For example, Japanese scientists have installed satellite trackers for nine gray-faced eagles, recording their migration routes north and South in spring and autumn. The migration routes north and South will be somewhat different and offset; while one gray-faced eagle, which has been tracked for two consecutive years, moves north in spring. The migration routes were almost identical and the arrival dates were only a day or two apart.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?


From 2007 to 2012, the Beijing Bird Watching Association made a ring for Beijing Swift in the Summer Palace at Ruting. Every year, more than 30% of the birds were recycled, and more than 13-year-old swifts were also recycled. That is to say, the swallows that breed in Kuruting will return to their birthplace accurately in the next year and continue year after year after long journey (they are said to fly to Africa for winter).

So how do migratory birds determine their flight direction and breeding grounds? Scientists have done a lot of research, but there are still many unknown phenomena. Usually there are some consistent explanations.

One is the orientation of the sun. Scientists have done an experiment in which purple-winged starlings are placed in circular cages with equal distance and narrow slits around them, which determine the direction of flight according to the direction of sunlight. Looking from the earth, the sun moves from east to West in a day, and birds correct their flight direction according to their biological clocks and the position of the sun at different times.

Second, star navigation. Scientists have done an experiment. In spring or autumn, indigo squirrels are placed in a bird cage of an astronomy instrument (sky). They move anxiously toward breeding or wintering places. The study found that they will be centered around Polaris, with the constellation Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Dragon, Cepheus and Cassiopeia at about 35 degrees. If the position of the constellation is changed, the indigo Oriole will adjust its flight path to the constellation around Polaris. Other studies have shown that this ability to recognize stars is acquired in young birds.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

indigo bunting

Third, geomagnetic field guidance. It is generally believed that the head and neck of birds have the ability to sense the magnetic field. The ubiquitous geomagnetic field can enable birds to judge their orientation at any time.

In addition, terrain, monsoon, direction of sunset, odor and so on can make birds use to identify direction. Other scientists believe that the mastery of geographic information is essential for some birds to reach their destination accurately.

Scientists believe that bird migration orientation can be divided into three stages.

The first stage is to fly in a specific direction at a specific time, which may be repeated many times. At this stage, birds may rely on the sun and constellations as navigation information to orient, they can fly hundreds of kilometers away from their destination.

The second stage is to use geomagnetic field and geographic information to fly several kilometers away from the destination.

In the third stage, according to the terrain and environment characteristics, birds should use detailed geographic information like door number to reach their destination.

What is the location of bird migration across continents without losing its way?

Migratory birds

Migration is an important thing in a migratory bird’s life. Some of the geographic information they depend on may have been acquired at birth, but more likely accumulated during migration. However, the ability of birds in this respect is almost unknown to humans. So there are many mysteries to be explored about bird migration.