Changing speeds

Friday, September 5, 2014 by Molly Meserve

Anyone who has ever experienced the transition from summer to fall or winter to spring can say that there is a noticable difference in speed. For example, think about how you feel when all the snow has melted and flowers are blooming. We tend to want to get up and out and move around. Now think of your last day of summer vacation (too soon?), and that first morning you have to get up and go to school. If you are anything like me, that need to get up and go isn't as compelling.

Goldfinch-Flicker credit to thefixer

Well, it turns out that birds are the same way, but for different reasons. Passerines, or perching birds, like Robins and Goldfinches, usually migrate at night and actually fly faster in the spring versus the fall. Scientists suspect that this speedy migration in the spring happens in order for these birds to find the best breeding territories, mates, and resources. 

Just as you and I might rush to the car to get the best seat or fight over the most delicious pastry, birds in the spring are racing for their prime spot. Once the weather gets a little colder and the time for fall migration comes around, these birds are not as quick to leave their cushy spring breeding grounds. So, if you are feeling a bit sluggish in these early back to school days, just know that the birds are with you too.

Click here to read more about this research!

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