Now I understand how birds navigate

My 2019 Wings Big Year is a sheer pleasure. Every day I force myself to take time out to pursue an aspect of birding and birds that I’d not tackle otherwise. Over the last two months, I’ve been lucky to work through David Barrie’s masterful “Incredible Journeys: Exploring the Wonders of Animal Navigation.” He’s a real navigator as well as a wonderful researcher. Whilst I don’t actually understand fully the wonders of how birds navigate, I’ve got a fair handle on the topic and can probably write about it. All from one book!

I had intended to find ways to create my own maps of how my beloved Cranes pulse across the world annually. But it turns out there’s no need. The International Cranes Foundation has just issued fifteen brand new location/migration maps, one for each species.

What I will pursue over my final month and a half is the more general issue of bird migration. How many bird species migrate? How far? Why? Is it baked into their genes? Do they fly high or low? Do they fly in the night or the day? How do my Cranes fit into this panoply of migration scenarios? What impact have we humans had?

I can’t wait to get cracking. Day by day.

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