Fall's Journey South Update: November 6, 1998

Today's Report Includes:

Hurricane Mitch, October 27, 1998
Image courtesy of the
WXP, Weather Processor Server
Purdue University
Non-stop Flights Now Arriving!
While your symbolic songbirds will be riding comfortably in a jet airplane to their winter homes in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, many of the real songbirds have already finished flying non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico on their own power. And, oh what it trip it was!

Flying as many as 500 miles across the open ocean, the real songbirds were unable to stop, drink, eat or rest until they reached the other side. These migrants have just traveled through what are the riskiest hours of their lives, facing many hazards like the hurricanes we're seen this fall. So, when they finally land, you can just imagine how important it is to find good habitat to rest and refuel.

Senora Sandra Garcia Peregrina has been monitoring the songbirds as they arrive in the Yucatan this fall. Here is her first-hand report:

"Saludos cordiales,

La Migracion en Yucatan
Este año la migración de aves comenzó muy temprano, en el mes de Julio y a principios de Agosto, se observaron en las costas muchas especies migratorias, principalmente Warblers, como Kentucky Warbler, el cual paso poco tiempo cerca de las costas para despues viajar hacia las selvas del sur de la Peninsula de Yucatan, otras especies como Hooded Warbler, Ovenbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, Black and white Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat y otras especies que podemos encontrar con relativa facilidad en las selvas bajas, manglares, sabanas y dunas.

Las especies migratorias mas comunmente observadas en esta temporada son Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Least Flycatcher, que se pueden observar incluso en la ciudad. El colibri Ruby-throated Hummingbird se observo alimentandose en las costas durante el mes de septiembre, sin embargo para estas fechas se observa mas abundante en las selvas del sur.

Las aves acuáticas representan un alto porcentaje en la migración, alrededor del 75% de las 190 especies migratorias que llegan en invierno son de ambientes acuáticos. Se han observado grandes grupos de American White Pelican en los humedales de Celestun, incluso por las noches se observan sobrevolando en las ciudades en su viaje a las costas del sur. En las playas se puede observar Killdeer, Snowy Plover, Greater Yellowlegs y Royal Tern, entre otras. Nos visitan tambien muchas garzas como Snowy Egret y Great Blue Heron. Los patos llegan en grupos muy grandes a los humedales de Yucatan, ahora observamos al Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Masked Duck, y Northern Pintail. En los humedales tambien encontramos a Spoonbill, alimentandose hjunto con otros individuos."

Sandra Garcia Peregrina
Coordinadora Educacion Ambiental
Pronatura Peninsula de Yucatan

But, if you must, an english version of Sandra's report is available:

Symbolic Migration Art Gallery Now Open
Here's a glimpse of some of the songbirds that are on their way to the Yucatan!

Room 1

Room 2

All Aboard! Symbolic Migration Passenger List
Your symbolic songbirds are now en route to the Yucatan in Mexico. Please carefully check for your school's name on the Symbolic Migration Passenger List below:

If you sent songbirds to us and you do not find your name on the list, please don't be alarmed. Simply send an E-mail to Journey North and let us know: our feedback form: our feedback form

(Please include your full name and address, and the number of songbirdsyou sent.)

What's in Store for your Symbolic Songbirds?
Elizabeth Donnelly is in the Yucatan right now meeting with teachers and students, and is helping to arrange winter homes for your songbirds.

We'll be eager to share more news about them later this winter when Journey North begins in February. We'll also have news about the real songbirds' habitat and winter home, and surrounding conservation issues too.

Discussion of Challenge Question #9
If you were an ornithologist trying to figure out whether robins have a leapfrog migration or not, how would you set up your study? In order to do this, you would first have to keep track of individuals. There are three ways ornithologists who have legal permits can do this:

Over time ornithologists collect data from these studies to see which birds go where for the winter. It's tricky because they only get return information from a few of the individuals they've studied, and some individual birds break all the rules. So we don't know all the answers about robin migration yet.

There are LOTS of questions still unanswered about birds! Scientists of the future will be busy!

The Next Journey South Update Will Be Posted on November 13, 1998

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