Health Editor’s Note: One of the big pluses of springtime is seeing the return of various birds to the feeders, pond, and yard. Right now I am anxiously awaiting the return of the hummingbirds. The feeders have been up for two weeks and still no hummers. Locally it has been a rather cold spring this year….Carol
by Abigail Croll and Julia Ross/Smithsonianmag.com
Each spring across the forests, lakes and suburbs of North America, millions of birds take a long journey north, leaving their winter home in Central or South America in search of summer nesting territory.
As tiny, brightly colored warblers and musical thrushes appear in our backyards, research scientists and bird care experts at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute are at work deciphering the mysteries of migratory birds: What routes do they take, and where do they stop? What risks do they face as they travel?
The need to better understand these species is urgent. A 2019 study by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and four other bird conservation organizations found that the United States and Canada have lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970, signaling an ecological crisis.