How do birds find their way to the south?

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Because birds need a lot of food to sustain themselves, lots of birds migrate, or "fly south," when winter is coming in order to move from regions where winter will mean scarce food to places where they'll be able to find plenty to eat! But without a map to tell direction, how do all of those birds know which way is "south"?!

In order to know which way to go, birds use a variety of techniques and hints. Some birds use the position of the sun (which always rises in the east and sets in the west) or the position of the stars to help them get oriented. Others rely on big landmarks down on the ground like lakes, rivers, or mountains that they can spot easily from way up high in the sky and which help them know which way they're headed.

Birds have also been shown to have their own very special and amazing type of built-in "compass." Similar to a compass that you can hold in your hand, researchers believe that a bird is able to determine north and south by sensing Earth's magnetic field and the pull of the Earth's north and south poles!

FLY ON!

(by Mya Kagan)

Exploration

Migrations A Flight To Remember

The distance and time that some birds travel every year when they migrate is really unbelievable! The Arctic Tern is a bird that journeys about 11,000 miles each way for its annual migration! The Bar-Headed Goose is also known for distance when flying over the Himalayan Mountains, this bird flies as high as 28,000 feet! If you were going on a great journey like a migrating bird, what are some things you would do to prepare??