A Flight with the moon on their wings
– Rob Reilly
Bird Migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. At a particular season thousands of birds travel from one place to another. One of the greatest mysteries of bird life is migration or travelling. Every year, during autumn and early winter, birds travel from their breeding haunts in the northern regions of Asia, Europe and America to the southern, warmer lands. They make the return journey again during spring and early summer. They are very punctual too, unless they are delayed by the weather. We may calculate almost to a day when we may expect our bird friends to return, carrying winter on their backs.
Some species also move out of one area into another, not very far away. All birds have a certain amount of local movements, caused by the stresses of living and the variations in food supply. This kind of movement is particularly noticeable in North India where the seasons are well defined. Birds which spend the summer in the higher reaches of mountains come down during the winter to the lower foothills or even the plains. This type is very common within India where the mighty Himalayas lie close to the Indo-Gangetic plain.
The brave little voyagers face many dangers and hardships, while travelling long, long distances through the air over hill, forest and plain and over large stretches of water. Sometimes sudden storms arise and drive them far out of their course. Often they are blown right out to sea and they drown in the wild waves. Sometimes at night bright lights attract and confuse the birds.
Migrating birds do not fly at their fastest. The migration speed is usually from 48 to 64 km an hour and rarely exceeds 80 km per hour. Small birds seldom exceed 48 km per hour, most shore birds fly between 64 and 80 km per hour, while many ducks travel at 80 to 96 km per hour. Migrants generally fly at a distance under 900 meters, but some travellers have been found sometimes at greater heights.