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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yes, fall migration for birds has started

Red-winged Blackbird & Swallowtail Kite
Here we are in late July. Actually "fall migration" starts about now. It spans roughly three months so it's not a spectacular event like spring migration. But every bird species that flies south-to-north in the spring, flies north-to-south in the fall - some time in the next three months.

Most migrating birds travel at night, but not all. At night, headwinds are weaker, predators are fewer, the air temperature is more comfortable and birds can navigate reliably by the stars.

The species that travel during the day are generally those that rely on soaring and gliding flight, using warm air "thermals". Mostly these are Cranes and raptors;  some songbird species (which need to find insects for food) also migrate during the day. 

HOW CAN A GOLF COURSE BE BIRD-FRIENDLY?   Golf courses have earned a bad name over the years for being unnatural and inhospitable to birds - often with good reason because of a very liberal reliance on artificial chemicals and pesticides. 

The Audubon Society's Sanctuary Program started in 1991 to help develop better bird habitat within golf courses, while still being challenging and fun to play. Most participating courses report increases in bird activity, and huge reductions in pesticide and water use. 

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