Tropical Birds in Crane Lake
These birds, along with many others, have just returned “up north” from their wintering grounds in the south. They have travelled many miles to reach their breeding grounds. Technically they are called “neo-tropical migrants”, but since they spend most of the year in the tropics, they could also be called Tropical Birds.
The Scarlet Tanager lives for most of the year in northern South America, a mere 4,000 miles away. In the Spring some birds travel to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, there they embark on an epic journey across the Gulf of Mexico, a 500 mile non-stop flight. Meanwhile other Scarlet Tanagers choose to migrate through the islands of the Caribbean. It’s truly amazing to think how these small birds make it. Any why do they travel so far north? Bird migration is one of those big mysteries, but one reason why some birds migrate and others don’t may be due to food competition in the tropics. Just ask anyone in Minnesota if we have a lot of insect life here, and you may find out the answer – yes, there’s an abundance of food here for a hungry bird and their nestlings, and that’s a good thing!
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