Not all migration is created equal. And, of course, not all birds migrate. Let’s explore the type of migrants (and non-migrants):
- These are the non-migrants that stay in the same area year-round. While some species can tolerate colder temperatures than others, a major challenge for all species is finding food. Permanent residents tend to be more adaptable and eat a wider range of foods. Seed eaters, in particular, are more likely to be residents.
- These species don’t follow any set, single-year cyclical pattern but instead are following a pattern of food abundance and scarcity, staying put when there is adequate food and only moving on when food is hard to come by.
- Short Distance Migrant
- Short distance migrants are species that typically move a few hundred miles or less. Some individuals may even stay put year-round while others move. Often, the “movers” are those individuals at higher elevations or at the northern edge of the species range.
- Long Distance Migrant
- Long can mean long! This group includes birds that move between continents—some species even breed and winter on different ends of the globe! Neotropical migrants—species that breed in North America but winter between the Tropic of Cancer (located about 1/3 from the top of Mexico and including the Caribbean Islands) and Tropic of Capricorn (located about the center of Paraguay)—are considered long-distance migrants.
Now that you know the types of migrants, see if you know which species fall into which category. Take our quiz below to see if you’re a Migrant Master or a Migrant Fledgling.