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As the fall season progresses, weekly migration stories will arrive from the places shown below. Many are told from some of North America's most important refuges--critical resting places during migration. Read each story and look for clues:

  • What fall changes trigger these migrations?
  • How can you help "Unpave the Way" for Wildlife?

Fall's Journey South
September 4 - Nov. 20, 1998
(News will be posted on the dates shown below. Please come back then.)

#1 September 4, 1998: Songbirds at Sea
Imagine yourself at sea, surrounded by water, miles from land, in the middle of the night. Biologists stationed in the Gulf of Mexico on oil platforms will tell us what it's like as 1/2 billion birds cross the Gulf this fall. Songbirds are migrating everywhere right now. Stand outside late at night and you might hear them overhead. The parade begins every year in mid-August. Why do they leave so early?

#2 September 11, 1998: Dragonflies and Kestrels Fly By
Monarch butterflies aren't the only insects that migrate. Some dragonflies do too. Hawk counters find huge numbers of dragonflies during hawk migration, and watch migrating Kestrels gobble them up as they both move along. Why do you think they're all traveling now?

#3 September 18, 1998: Non-Stop Flights Now Departing
Tiny Blackpoll Warblers are gathering at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, preparing for the flight of their lives. Some will fly 48 hours non-stop over the ocean, nearly 2,000 miles. They must double their weight to fuel the trip. What do you suppose they're eating? Do birds go south because their food is running out or because the weather gets cold?

#4 September 25, 1998: Hero Helps in Toronto
Migration is dangerous--the only thing worse would be staying through the northern winter! But many birds won't survive the journey. Lighted buildings and towers are among the worst killers--bird deaths at these are estimated in the millions each fall. Why is foggy weather so dangerous for night migrants? What are people doing to help?

#5 October 2, 1998: How do Hurricanes Affect Migration? Woodpeckers are known to hide in treeholes, shorebirds might head for the golf course, and at least one Tropicbird from Bermuda has been blown to Vermont. Why don't hurricanes hit the West Coast as they do the East and Gulf Coasts? This has been a dramatic week for weather and birds alike!

#6 October 9, 1998: Loons--Research and Migration
The race is on! Throughout Canada and the northern states, baby loons are running on the surface of lakes, flapping hard. Some are practicing for their first takeoff but most are already on the move. Why are loons from Maine so much bigger than ones from Michigan? And what are all those loons on the ocean crying about?

#7 October 16, 1998: Whooooo Knows Why?
Miniature Saw-whet Owls are now moving silently through the nighttime skies over much of Canada and the northern US. Imagine holding one in your hand and banding it! What information do banders learn about birds? Why do Saw-Whet owls migrate when many other owl species stay at home for the winter?

#8 October 23, 1998: Ducking the Issue
Over half a million ducks, geese and swans are arriving on the Chesapeake Bay for the winter. What birds of prey are following them? Why do most of the larger hawks and eagles migrate later than the smaller hawks and falcons? Why do most insect-eating waterfowl migrate later than most insect-eating songbirds?

#9 October 30, 1998: Flocks of Robins Hiding Out
Millions of robins are quietly skulking around in the southern states right now. It's harder to notice a thousand wintering robins than just two spring males. Why are they so sneaky? Some of the worst dangers they will face this winter are caused by humans. How can we help them?

November 5, 1998: Whooping Cranes Now Arriving in Texas--Finally!
The Whooping Cranes are finally arriving at Aransas NWR in Texas! The "first sighting" on October 28 is the latest return date in 35 years! Tom Stehn shares some history on the cranes'return dates, and the results of his recent aerial crane surveys. Also, read how the late summer tropical storms have impacted the cranes' wintering grounds at Aransas. Will this have a positive or negative effect for the cranes?

#10 November 6, 1998: Non-Stop Flights Now Arriving
Many songbirds have completed their non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Get a first-hand report from the Yucatan about the migrants that have arrived. Also, the Symbolic Art Gallery is now open, and the Symbolic Songbird Passenger List is ready--is your school on board?

#11 November 13, 1998: Friday the 13th Unlucky Day for Eagles?
Bald Eagles winter as far north as Canada and Alaska, wherever they find open water. They don't mind dead fish, even chopped up ones, so they gather at dams, and sometimes learn to steal fish and bait from ice fishermen. Eagles that survive their first winter have a long life expectancy. The trick for babies is getting through this winter alive. What are some unlucky things that could happen to an eagle today?

#12 Fall's Journey South: November 20, 1998
What's life like in the far north in winter? Journey North talked to the manager of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and to Joy Hamilton's class in Shageluk, Alaska, at the Innoko River School. What birds stay throughout the winter? How do kids play outside when it's dark almost all the time--and colder than 40 below zero?

December 30, 1998: Whooping Crane Migration Update
Tom Stehn reports that 179 Whooping Cranes have returned to Aransas to date. But why is this number disappointing and a concern?

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