Spring Is In the Air: Time For a Change of Scene

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African Wildlife Foundation

Twelve Epic Migratory Journeys Animals Take Every Spring

As temperatures rise and foliage blooms in the north, creatures from insects to whales set out for long treks across the planet

by Brian Handwerk/Smithsonian.com

Spring is in the air, and the animal kingdom is on the move. Vernal migrations feature everything from fish and birds to big, shaggy mammals and tiny insects. These journeys are about as diverse as the species themselves, but Andy Davis, a University of Georgia ecologist and editor of the journal Animal Migration, says the mass wildlife movements have one important thing in common.

“It’s hard; it’s a taxing, energetically expensive journey,” Davis says. “It allows them to exploit different resources that they wouldn’t have been able to find if they’d stayed put, but a lot of animals die trying to complete migrations. So every year it’s a selective episode that helps to keep the population strong.”

If you are in the right spot on the planet, you might even catch some of the natural world’s most incredible migrators on the move.

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