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Many wild birds head north as part of spring migration



There are many signs this month that winter has ended and better weather is on the way. One is that the internal clocks of many North American songbirds send a message that it’s time to head north.

“More than 300 bird species found in the United States and Canada spend the winter in the lush forests of Central and South America,” explained Jacque Lowery, manager of Moana Nursery’s Wild Birds Unlimited stores. “As the seasons change, they know it’s time to travel to their summer breeding grounds where they’ll find the right food and nesting materials to welcome a new brood into the world.”

Many of these trips span more than 7,000 miles, and some involve flying nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico. Without a compass or other navigational tools, it’s believed that many birds find the right course by orienting their route to the positions of the stars. Others seem to be sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field.

“Throughout their journey, migrating birds are on the lookout for places to rest and refuel,” Lowery said. “Some may stay in an area for a few days while they prepare to travel farther north. Others might drop in for a quick nibble and drink before immediately taking flight again.”

By providing food, a source of fresh water and having a backyard habitat that gives birds plenty of places where they can rest away from predators, birds will be able to build up the energy they need for successful migration.

Bird feeding enthusiasts enjoy each spring’s migration because it brings a wide variety of new species to their feeders, and they keep a list of all the species they have seen. Lowery says that by varying the food types available in your yard, you can attract different species.

wildbirds-4238983-6599004Wild Birds Unlimited, located inside all three Moana Nursery locations in Reno and Sparks (1100 W. Moana Lane, 11301 S. Virginia St. and 7655 Pyramid Hwy.), is part of the original and largest franchise system of backyard bird feeding and nature specialty stores with more than 275 locations throughout the United States and Canada. It specializes in bringing people and nature together with bird feeding and nature products, expert advice and educational events. Visit www.reno.wbu.com for more information.

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