Spring Migration - Flight for Life Across the Gulf
The average flight of a migratory bird across the Gulf of Mexico is 20-24 hours, non-stop, mostly at night, if winds and weather are good.
Mortality is estimated at 50%.
Our birds come back to the United States for Spring and Summer to reproduce as their food (insects, fruit, berries, nectar) and habitats are renewed with the seasons.
If, after 5-600 miles over open ocean, there is no shore habitat to meet them, the birds fail and never reach their homes throughout the United States to breed. This year (2003) the Gulf coast of America still holds protection, although it's largely up for construction.
The following are a few Intrepid Travelers who made it this Spring. //Pics) They came in at Gulf Shores, Alabama at Fort Morgan., in early April. (See October banding of Fall migrants on Alabama Gulf Coast.) The Hummer/Bird Study Group, under experienced direction of Bob Sargent, collected migrants in light nets in the inland woods, to inspect for general condition, body fat and parasites, and for banding. The banders will see 80-90 species at this location (2 sites) in a little over 2 weeks while they're working -- a small portion of the creatures pouring in.
Gulls and fish feast on the losers, sometimes only yards from shore.