Sandhill cranes and mallard ducks, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA
© Cathy & Gordon Illg/Jaynes Gallery/DanitaDelimont.co
From late October here in the US state of New Mexico, the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge becomes home to tens of thousands of migratory birds. Sandhill cranes and various species of geese and ducks travel thousands of miles from as far away as Siberia to hunker down in warmer climes. They stay until late February when they begin their journey back north to their summer homes. And as sandhill cranes can live for 40 years, it’s possible some have been wintering in the Bosque for decades.
About 2,000 of the world’s 11,000 bird species migrate, some covering enormous distances. The Arctic tern covers up to 50,000 miles a year flying between the Arctic and Antarctic summers, the longest of all migration journeys in the animal kingdom.
World Migratory Bird Day is held twice yearly in October and May to bring attention to these migratory birds and their challenges. Take a moment today to look up in the sky and, chances are, you'll see birds heading south for the winter.