When you contemplate the logistics of migration, you inevitably run into some big questions. How does the Bar-tailed Godwit fly all the way from Alaska to New Zealand, without stopping to refuel? How does the Atlantic Salmon find the very same river that it swam out of, sometimes several years later? These themes will shed some light on the scientific aspects of migration.
Last week Lieutenant Rolf Williams was forced into an unusual rescue operation. Temperatures in the Gulf are reaching 40 degree and many birds are suffering as a result: one male Lesser Kestrel ditched into the water so a United States Navy patrol boat was despatched to fish it out of the water.
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There are big questions, big science and nothing short of jaw dropping wonder as we ask: How do migrating animals find their way around, do they have internal Sat Navs?
Every individual who embarks on a great migration is a peak performer: a long distance flyer, swimmer, runner, walker. What are the tweaks in body build and function that precede migration?
Sometimes animal journeys don’t go to plan. Food and energy supplies may dry up and the traveller has to put down in an unexpected place. More frequently it’s the weather that sabotages migration.
Should I stay or should I go? The mind set of an animal experiencing migratory restlessness – the prelude to a migration and a time of feverish sociality, and from our point of view, spectacle.
If you’ve ever wondered why cuckoos or swallows always arrive in the British Isles at around the same time in April, then you’re echoing a question that has fascinated biologists for centuries.
Animals mostly migrate for sex, space and sunshine - to reach breeding grounds and enjoy a climate where food is plentiful.