How does weather affect bird migration?

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Key ideas: A migrating bird doesn't rely on sight alone. Their vision at night is not even as good as ours. Birds flies with the air mass. The fact that they migrate in summer and fall has less to do directly with temperature and more to do with the fact that air patterns are changing. They do not see well, so they have to trust that the north or south wind will take them the right course. Sometimes things go wrong. Examples of past research: Frontal movements are correlated with large numbers of migration birds. Whenever a south wind switches to west on nights when birds are migrating, a drift of dead birds on the beaches of the Atlantic coast is common. On April 16, 1960, this kind of tragedy happened on the shores of Lake Michigan. A migration flight was taking place on the south winds along the west shore when the wind abruptly changed direction and started blowing from the west. The birds were blown out over the lake on winds reaching 80 miles per hour. A squall with hail then ... more
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