Spring migration is a favourite of many birders, particularly those in northern climates, signaling the changing of the seasons and the influx of warmer weather, green grass and new visitors to our backyard feeders.
Fall migration, on the other hand, can be a more bittersweet migration period for us bird lovers, as we do our very best to provide our backyard visitors with the very best in feed and seed, helping them on their long migration journeys to their winter homes.
Both seasons, however, differ in a few key ways. Other than the obvious points of traveling in opposite directions and seasonal timing, there are a few considerations birds make in the spring migration that differ greatly from their motivations of the fall migration.
Urgency is a big motivational factor for birds during the spring. They are anxiously and sometimes aggressively racing, so to speak, to reach their breeding grounds, claim their stake and attract a mate to later raise their young. Competition plays a huge role in spring migration, as the saying goes; the early bird gets the worm.
Individual migrants are more often sighted during the spring migration as well, rather than the large flocks we are used to seeing in the late fall months. While some species will always stick together, there are a number of migrants who will take their own path, often believed to be caused by the competitive nature and urgency we spoke about above that comes with the spring season.
Perhaps one of our favourite differences between the two seasons is their plumage. We can all agree that the spring brings out the very vibrant colouring and plumages across all species of birds. Males are always donning their very best colours in the spring in hopes of attracting a mate, while in the fall; most plumages take on a more dull-worn look.
No matter what the season, there is always lots to see and do out in the field. As more of our summer visitors begin to show up at our backyard feeders, we invite you to let us know in the comments or stop by the store and let us know what you have been seeing so far this spring!
Happy spring watching!