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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Migration

When Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean, he remembered that the Portuguese had discovered the Azores by studying migrating birds. So the crafty captain decided to follow the birds' flight line.

For millennia, Europeans didn't really understand where birds went in the winter. Scientists finally solved the mystery in 1822 when a stork impaled by Central African spear was discovered by a hunter near Mecklenburg, Germany.

A female shorebird was tracked by satellite tag and found to fly 7,145 miles in nine days from Alaska to New Zealand without stopping - the longest non stop bird migration ever recorded.

Arctic terns take the prize for the longest migration of any bird. It can fly a round trip from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back, which can be as long as twenty thousand miles per year.

Arctic Terns

Migratory species of crane can fly at heights of up to 32,000 feet, a record among birds.

In ancient times it was thought that swallows hibernated in winter. In fact they migrate, flying 12,000 miles to southern Africa and back, covering 200 miles a day and crossing two continents and 14 countries.

The Serengeti 'great migration' is an annual circular pattern of movement with some 1.7 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of other large game animals including gazelles and zebra.  It begins and ends in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of the southern Serengeti in Tanzania and is a natural phenomenon determined by the availability of grazing.

Wildebeests crossing the river during the Serengeti migration

Monarch butterflies migrate more than 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico in autumn. The following spring, their descendants three generations on make the trip back.

The grey whale migrates 12,500 miles from the Arctic to Mexico and back every year.

Many species in the sea have a daily migration. Plankton go up for the day where there is light, and down at night, where they are less easy to find.

An estimated 2.91 billion trips are made during the 40-day Chinese Lunar New Year holiday season between January 21 and March 3, 2016 as migrant workers in the cities grabbed the chance to return home to see their families. The official extended travel period for the Spring Festival has been described as the world’s largest human migration.

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