Where Do Our Birds Go in the Winter?

As birds depart for their winter grounds, many people ask us where they go. Some birds make incredible journeys between their summer breeding grounds and their winter habitats, while others may travel only a short distance. Choose a link below to learn more about the fall migration of some of our familiar backyard birds, champion migrants, and birds that call our area 'south' for the winter.

Backyard Birds
Covers the southbound migration of some of our favorite backyard summer visitors, including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Baltimore Oriole, House Wren, and Purple Martin.

Long Distance Migration Champions
Talk about going the distance! Learn about the amazing journeys of the Arctic Tern, Red Knot, and Broad-winged Hawk.

Winter Visitors from Up North
We think of fall migration as the time when migratory birds leave our area, but it also is the time when birds that breed further to the north make their way to their wintering grounds - right here! Learn about the journeys of the White-throated Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco.

For more on bird migration, we recommend reading Miyoko Chu's Songbird Journeys and Scott Weidensaul's Living on the Wind. To see what's currently migrating, watch radars capturing migration, and get a forecast when we can expect good days of bird movements, be sure to follow Cornell's BirdCast.

More Migration Tidbits:

Body lengths traveled by a Rufous Hummingbird from Alaska to Mexico: 49 million.

Miles to the gallon used by a Blackpoll Warbler if it burned gas instead of body fat: 720,000

Number of birds detected by radar passing over Cape Cod on a single autumn night: 12 million.