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Animal Migrations

migrating geese
Source: USFWS

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Each year groups of certain animals move from one place to another. Some may travel thousands of miles in the spring and then thousands of miles back in the fall. These long trips are called migrations.

Why do animals migrate?

Animals migrate with the change of the weather and the seasons. They migrate to find warmer weather, better food supplies, or a safe place to give birth to their young.

How do animals know when and where to migrate?

Different signals such as a change in weather, the length of the days, or the availability of food may signal to the animals that it is time to move. As to how they know which direction to go, scientists aren't sure. Many think that animals know where to migrate to when they are born. Scientists say they learn this "genetically" from their parents. It is also called instinct.

How do they find their way?

Animals don't have the internet, GPS, or even maps to find their destination, yet each year they manage to find their way across thousands of miles of land and sea. Different animals have adapted different ways of navigating the Earth. Some animals use the Sun and the stars to figure out the correct direction. Other animals use wind patterns or landmarks such as mountains, rivers, and lakes. Still other animals may use an extra sense that allows them to use the magnetic field of the Earth to know which direction to go. It is amazing what animals can do!

Animals that Migrate

Below are some examples of animals that migrate across the land, air, and sea.

Migrations on the land Migrations in the air Migrations in the water
Fun Facts about Animal Migrations

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