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Migratory Flyways
In North America, most migratory birds follow four main flyways, or routes, between their summer and winter residences. They are the Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Central Flyway, and Pacific Flyway.

Compare the flyway map below with a map showing North American landforms and large bodies of water. How do the shape and features of North America determine the flyways?

Why Fairbanks First?
Find Fairbanks, Alaska and the village of Shageluk, Alaska on a map of North America.

  • Why do you think robins were seen first in Fairbanks before Shageluk?

Joyanne Hamilton, teacher in Shageluk, has been thinking about this question. "For years I thought  the birds came from Anchorage because when we travel, WE come from Anchorage to our villages.  It's not that way for the birds!  They come up via the flyways...The eastern and middle flyways of North America, I believe, are the ones that the American Robins fly. They must go through the eastern part of Alaska first, then—which includes the Fairbanks area—before they get to us in the western interior." What do YOU think?

Map of four migratory flyways.