As we are only a couple of weeks ahead of the official start of autumn, some of our local birds have already left town and many others are busy preparing for their exit to warmer locales.

Most of us tend to think of migration as a relatively straightforward operation, with birds leaving their summer range and heading southbound into their winter range.  While in theory, this is correct, there are actually a number of slightly different ways many species of birds move around during the fall season.

Below we will identify three different types of migrations that you might be able to witness in the coming months.


Drifting Migrations

Just as the title suggests, this rare occurrence takes place when migrating birds are pushed off their course, in turn, drifting them into other areas where those species may not be common.   This type of migration pattern is often caused by natural conditions.  Birds will get pushed around by weather such as bad storms and will often cause fallout conditions, giving birders a unique opportunity to spot a great number of any particular species in an area in which they are not commonly found.

Reverse Migration

Often caused by confusion, this rare phenomenon takes place when a group of migrating birds will actually head in the opposite direction of their intended path. Most commonly taking place among juvenile birds, this too will often result in the sighting of species you may otherwise never see in your area.

Skip Migration

Also referred to as leapfrog migration, this unique migration pattern takes place when a northern population of one species of birds will actually migrate a greater distance in order to leapfrog over a sedentary group o the same species.

This is an exciting time of year and a very important one for both our migrating and resident birds.  Always be sure to keep your feeders full of the right seed this time of year.  Birds that are about to embark on their seasonal pilgrimage south need to increase their caloric intake, allowing them to complete their long southbound journey.


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