When we think migration, most of us simply render thoughts of birds typically moving north to south or vice versa during the spring and fall months. The fact is that type of migration is only one variation of a few different ways birds migrate around the world.

This article will briefly describe four main types of migration that our feathered friends take on a yearly basis:

Latitudinal Migration

As we spoke about above, this is the traditional type of migration we here in North America have grown accustomed to. These birds travel in a north to south direction twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. This migration primarily takes place for reasons of climate change, where birds will leave colder climates to enjoy the warmer climates of more tropical or southern locations during the winter months.

Longitudinal Migration

The complete opposite of latitudinal migration, these migrants follow an east to west or west to east. The type of migration is typical of the continent of Europe, where it is believed that the geographic features of the land encourage birds to migrate this way.

Altitudinal Migration

This type of migration is reserved for those species that spend their time in mountainous ranges and terrain during the summers and often head down into plains and lower lying areas during the winter months. The main reason for this migration is the dramatic increase in snowfall and poor weather conditions at higher altitudes, making it nearly impossible for those species of birds to survive.

Vagrant or Nomadic Migration

Like your free-spirited world traveling cousin, birds that follow this type of migration pattern can be tough to follow. Nomadic migration can be quite erratic but is usually characterized by the availability of food and other resources in a particular area.


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