Sandhill cranes feeding at the beach on their yearly stop off.

Look to the skies, the birds are on the move

During the past few weeks thousands of birds have started their fall migration

They’re on the move again.

During the past few weeks thousands of birds have started their fall migration, and for many this will be a lengthy undertaking.

A unique phenomenon, the subject of migration is very complex with new information constantly coming to light through scientific studies. The reasons that birds choose to migrate centers around their need to find a safe place to breed and plentiful food once the young have hatched.

Extended daylight hours in the Arctic produce an abundance of plant and insect life, which enables the young to rapidly build up fat reserves needed to fly south to their winter feeding grounds.

Flying formations also help the birds conserve energy, with the best known “V” formation allowing the trailing birds to be pulled along in the slip stream, and the lead bird dropping back when it gets tired.

Due to the vast distances covered during migration most birds will break their trip stopping over at chosen feeding stations. Some birds like the Ana’s hummingbird double their weight before they migrate and fly nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico, and no they don’t hitch a ride on a Canada goose! The eastern side of Vancouver Island is one of the stop over sites, and each year flocks of birds can be seen in our estuaries and along the shorelines.

How do these birds know where to go and how to get to their winter destination with no maps?

In fact, they actually have their own version of a map and compass, and it has been proven that birds use the sun, moon and stars as a guide together with landmark recognition to track their route.

They are sensitive to barometric pressure and magnetic fields and use this information to avoid heading into a major storm.

It is also thought that they use their sense of smell and hearing to detect the sea and shorelines if they cannot locate them visually.

It is critical that migratory birds are left undisturbed to feed at their pit stops. Dogs running along the shorelines create a disturbance for water birds, so please keep them on a leash.

Very soon our eastern shores will be teaming with hundreds of species of birds; some pass through, while others are permanent winter visitors.

Two species that provide many hours of winter bird watching are the trumpeter swans and the bald eagles. This is also the time to look out for unusual species that have been blown off course.

The prediction of El Nina winter weather patterns does not bode well for our wildlife. Many juveniles experience difficulties during their first winter and the timid, less aggressive birds with poor hunting skills will often starve to death.

We have already treated many starving eagles this year. Please be aware of any wildlife that appears to be weak or injured,  and call before attempting to intervene. To report injured wildlife please call 1-800-304-9968 or visit our website at www.wingtips.org. Check out the eagle updates Shredders Revenge.

 

 

Just Posted

Campbell River candidates shovel their way through snow removal question

How do the candidates feel about the city’s current snow removal policies and what would they change?

Confusion in Campbell River on first day of cannabis legalization

Some users puzzled as dispensaries close just before pot becomes legal across Canada

Aquaman star spotted around Campbell River as production ramps up on See

Jason Momoa, best known for his role in Game of Thrones, is in town to film television series

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Man injured in Vancouver Island racetrack accident meets, holds son for first time

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Money Monitor: Should you switch to a fixed-rate mortgage?

BMO’s Omar Abouzaher outlines the pros and cons of both types of mortgages

Earth still moving in Old Fort, B.C., but not above homes: geologists

Transportation Ministry crews are ready to start work on the Old Fort road

Around the BCHL: Youth trumps experience for Chilliwack and Salmon Arm

Around the BCHL is a look at goings-on in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Proportional representation grows government, B.C. study finds

Spending, deficits higher in countries where voting system used

Ucluelet fears orca protection could shut down fisheries

“I beg you to start a process to put a stick in the wheels and slow these people down.”

Black market will thrive until small pot growers and sellers included: advocates

Advocates say the black market will continue to thrive until small retail shops and craft growers are included in the regime.

Goodbye cable, hello Netflix: 1/3 of Canadians cut the cord

Just under half of households no longer have a landline phone

‘Some baloney’ in assertion Canada’s pension fund has highest ethical standards

The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney”.

Most Read