Why do birds migrate?

A Question A Day

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May be to take a vacation in the sun… In fact, it’s not the cold that makes birds fly south; their feathers could keep them warm.  It’s the lack of food in winter that makes them look elsewhere for something to eat. 

So, migration of birds is nothing to do with holidays!

In the fall, a gruelling expedition starts… Days are shorter, temperatures and sunlight go down. These 3 factors signal that it’s time to go. As if getting ready for competition, birds get ready to migrate: they eat a lot to be able to fly for a long time, without stopping. When they arrive, some weigh less than half their original weight!

Migrating birds beat long-distance records. The Arctic Tern is the champion, and can fly 35,000 km! Cuckoos and swallows can fly 8500 to 10,000 km, or the distance between Paris and Los Angeles! Migrating birds also beat endurance records. In this category, the winner is the swift, which is able to fly for 6 months non-stop! Migrating is no easy task. And it can be dangerous, especially for small birds like chaffinches that can be killed by hawks. But for lots of birds, it’s vital. When they get back in the spring, they have babies… and they’ve got lots to eat thanks to the insects, seeds and fruit that have reappeared. Bon appétit !

Producteur : Milan Presse, France Télévisions

Auteur : Jacques Azam

Production : 2018

Publié le - Mis à jour le 17-10-2018
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