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Bird migration

 

Over 40 per cent of birds migrate. Even the blackbird in your garden in winter could be a visitor from eastern Europe.  Birds mainly migrate to get to the best places for food and for breeding. 

In preparation for winter many birds from the frozen northern parts of the world fly south to warmer areas with more food.

In the summer most of these birds migrate back to make the most of longer daylight hours in order to raise their young.


Winter visitors to the UK

Winter visitors leave northern Europe and the Arctic to escape freezing temperatures and shortening hours of daylight. The days here are longer, the weather is milder and food is easier to find. In spring, they fly back to their breeding grounds further north. As summer arrives in the Arctic the snow melts and there is a huge flush of insects. Birds travel there from all over the world to exploit the abundance of food and the long hours of daylight. The Solent coast is special for these overwintering birds. 

 

Summer visitors to the UK

Summer visitors fly to the UK from further south; mostly from the Mediterranean and Africa. During the summer there is more food here and more daylight hours in which to search for it. In the autumn our days get shorter and they return south to their wintering grounds. Swallows are one of the best known examples. 

 

Pit stop

Other birds pass through the UK on migration during autumn and spring. This birds are migrating further south to the Mediterranean and Africa. For them the Solent is like a motorway services. They stop for a break in their journey, have a wash and refuel.