More than 300 bird species found in North America during the summer will make their way to Latin America or the Caribbean, some covering distances of nearly 7,000 miles. Parks, backyards and nature refuges across the country will host these winged visitors for the next few weeks as the birds make their way to their fall and winter destinations.
“Migration is a fascinating part of bird behavior,” explained Jacque Lowery, Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited located within Moana Nursery. “Besides the amount of daylight, it appears that age, sex, weather and the availability of food, water and shelter are the major factors in migratory behavior.”
While migration is still not completely understood, it appears that some birds orient themselves by the stars on clear nights while others seem to have a built-in magnetic compass. Some birds travel over large bodies of water, and birds commonly lose one fourth to one half of their body weight during such over-water migration.
In order to survive their grueling trip, birds accumulate fat prior to migration. This physiological change helps the birds maintain their energy reserves.
“Not only can we enjoy migrating birds as they pass through our area, but we can also play a role in their survival by providing food, water, habitat and/or shelter to help them conserve and replenish their energy supply during their journey. Foods that are high in fat, such as suet, Bark Butter and a seed blend with lots of sunflower seeds, help birds refuel their energy supply,” stated Lowery.
Wild 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. Wild Birds Unlimited 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.