What is animal migration in Winter and why do animals migrate? Migration is the travel of animals from one place to another, typically for the search for food or warmer temperatures. Thousands of species of animals, birds, reptiles, and even insects participate in winter migration. In fact, most animals that don’t hibernate participate in some form of migration.
Animal Migration in Winter
Scientists still aren’t quite sure how animals know when it is time to start migrating. They theorize that changes in temperatures and daylight trigger the process of migration. Birds and insects use a special migration pattern that almost always remains the same year after year. The instinct of birds and insects to use the same migration pattern, even if they have never traveled it before, remains a mystery to scientists.
Birds and insects are not the only animals that migrate. Some mammals like whales, bats, elk, and caribou also migrate to warmer locations each winter. Many species of fish, such as salmon, also follow yearly migration patterns.
Some insects migrate just a little. For example, earthworms move deeper underneath the earth to avoid the cold. Earthworms travel up to six feet below the surface during winter.
Animal Migration Facts
The grey whale has the longest migration path, of over 13,000 miles.
The bar-tailed gotwit bird is credited with the longest migration without stopping, where it flies nonstop for 6,835 miles.
Salmon migrate up river on treacherous rocks, living only long enough to lay eggs before they die.
Scientists theorize that the risks of migration are low compared with the risks of staying in one place, which is why so many animals migrate. Until the agricultural revolution, humans also were migratory.
Birds and other flying creatures use air currents and wind patterns to make their flights easier.
Land animals consume large quantities of food before starting their migration journey.
When Do Animals Migrate?
All animals migrate at different times depending on how far north they live. Animals that live the farthest north start migrating south first. Animals that live closer to warm temperatures will start migrating later. In general, an animal must start migrating to give it enough time to reach its destination before cold weather kicks in. You’ll often find animals starting to migrate as early as September. Since some animals travel over 12,000 miles when migrating, it can take several months to reach their destination.
Which Animals Migrate in Winter?
Insects like dragonflies
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