Fall and spring bird migrations are exciting natural phenomenon that occur every year in all parts of the world, as it has been for millenium. Additionally, amid milder climates of the Central Valley in California, the migrating birds reside here in agricultural fields and refuge ponds for the winter.
From November through January there are hundreds of thousands of wintering birds here that we don’t see at other times of the year, especially ducks and geese, but also cranes and other bird varieties. The migratory route in California is called the Pacific Flyway, and the birds travel here from numerous northern locations.
Photographed here are a few of the ducks that we are lucky to have visit for the winter. By mid-February they will almost all be gone.
Ducks such as mallards and coots are here year-round, so they are not pictured here.
There are four migratory routes in North America and additional migratory routes in the eastern hemisphere. See maps below.
When they arrive and when they depart varies every year, depending on many factors, especially climate. The bird species also vary from year to year. Sometimes there are larger populations than other years, depending on how successful and/or brutal the year has been.
Like anything in nature, there are a large amount of variables and nothing is predictable. For me, that’s the true joy of nature.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander