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Migratory Birds

Gulf Wings Project: Preserving Migratory Stopover Sites

Your support will help to protect birds like the roseate spoonbill of the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf Wings Project: Preserving Migratory Stopover Sites

Each fall, migratory birds travel from their northern nesting grounds to their distant wintering grounds in the southern U.S., Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. And each spring they make the arduous return trip.

The common flight paths of many of these migratory birds converge around the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of millions of birds make the 600-mile non-stop trip across the Gulf, or take the longer route around it. These tiny athletes need stopover habitat, safe places to rest and sustain them during their journey. The forests of maritime live oak and pine that rim the Gulf are crucial for their survival.

Research shows that a number of these species have been declining drastically over the past 30 years. But through the Gulf Wings project, The Nature Conservancy is working to conserve stopover habitat around the Gulf of Mexico crucial to the survival of the many bird species whose migratory routes converge on this area.

Migratory Bird Facts:

  • More than 300 bird species, almost half of all those nesting in the United States and Canada, are migratory.
  • Migratory birds play an important role in seed dispersal and pollination, and they aid agriculture by eating insect pests.
  • Birds fly an average of 15-45 miles per hour during migration.
  • Most migratory birds fly between 2,000 feet and 3,000 feet above sea level, but others have been tracked as low as 500 feet above sea level and as high as 20,000 feet above sea level.
  • The longest migrations are more than 24,000 miles round trip per year.
  • The American golden plover is so efficient it can fly for about 48 continuous hours on less than two ounces of body fat.

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