Good Question: How Do Birds Know Where To Migrate?

WCCO | CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – As the weather gets colder, birds start heading south for the winter.

Ducks and geese fly thousands of miles, often to very specific locations.

We can rely on a map or a compass or even a GPS with a robotic, monotone voice to tell us where to go.

Birds have to rely on something else.

“It’s a huge topic, but it’s fascinating. It is really fascinating,” said Dr. Julie Ponder.

Dr. Ponder is with The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

“They do have a built-in ability to navigate,” said Dr. Ponder.

Dr. Ponder said different species of birds have different ways of navigating.

But all migrating birds, over time, develop a mental map, allowing them to follow waterways and landmarks.

The sun and the stars also help.

“Some species are diurnal migrants and they navigate by the sun. Other species migrate at night and by…

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