It’s Worth the Risk for Mom.
As you read this, millions of birds are on the most hazardous journey of their lives as they migrate north to nest. Many have successfully arrived.
Long migrations are deadly for birds. It is estimated that about half of all migrating birds do not survive the annual round trip.
The hazards they face include bad weather, predators, exhaustion over water, collisions with towers and buildings, and starvation due to the lack of suitable stopover habitat along the way.
It's worth the risk for mom.So why take the chance? Why would a bird that has all the necessities of life in the tropics subject itself to all of the dangers of flying north in the first place?
It all has to do with giving their nestlings the best odds for starting their lives.
It’s worth the journey to the northern hemisphere as it has much more land mass than the wintering grounds in the southern hemisphere. Millions of birds have more space in which to spread out and establish larger nesting territories that offer less competition for food and a better chance of avoiding detection by predators.
In addition, as the birds migrate north, the hours of sunlight per day grow longer. This advantage allows birds to make many more feeding trips to their young every day. The young grow faster, leave the nest earlier, thus shortening the dangerous nesting period.
So for mother birds, this dangerous migration has evolved into a risk worth repeating for the good of their young and their species as a whole.
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