11 spectacular bird migration bottlenecks from around the world

Migratory birds transfer of their numerous hundreds of thousands throughout the Americas, Africa and Eurasia every spring and autumn. These epic journeys usually happen on broad fronts, however birds additionally focus at bottlenecks the place geographical options funnel them over slim ocean crossings, or the place wealthy feeding alternatives allow them to relaxation and construct up fats reserves earlier than persevering with their journeys. This choice of hotspots underscores the significance of conservation motion in the best way birds see the world: by way of flyways.

 

1. Fraser River Delta, Canada

This huge space close to Vancouver is considered one of Canada’s most essential ecosystems for waterbirds, but it’s below heavy growth strain. There isn’t a overarching authorized framework defending the realm, so Birds Canada and Nature Canada (each BirdLife Companions) are amongst these preventing plans for an enormous buying and selling port. One-day estimates of not less than 500,000 Western Sandpipers Calidris mauri point out that a lot of the worldwide inhabitants stops over in spring; excessive counts of Dunlin Calidris alpina and Gray Plover Pluvialis squatarola additionally characterize about 8% and three% respectively of the North American populations. Autumn counts of greater than 100,000 waterfowl are made often.

 

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2. Cape Might, USA

This New Jersey peninsula is a pure funnel for birds migrating on the junction of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Passage in spring includes greater than 100 species and 100,000 birds, and is much more vital in autumn with big flights of birds of prey – notably Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus, Crimson-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus and Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus – in addition to quite a few shorebirds and seabirds, and spectacular waves of warblers, vireos, thrushes, sparrows and different passerine migrants.

 

3. Veracruz, Mexico

Nowhere on Earth is extra spectacular for raptor passage. In autumn as much as six million birds of prey from jap, central and western North America converge en path to winter quarters in Central and South America. Nearly the complete world populations of Broad-winged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni and Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis – numbering as much as two million, a million and 200,000 birds respectively – go by way of, together with 1.5 million Turkey Vultures Cathartes aura (and plenty of different species) in what has develop into generally known as the River of Raptors.

 

With 200,000 Mississippi Kites, Veracruz is dubbed the "river of raptors" © Dan Rieck / Shutterstock

 

4. Panama Metropolis, Panama

The skyscrapers of Panama’s capital present an incongruous backdrop to the streams of ‘kettling’ raptors migrating between breeding and wintering ranges. Mudflats close to town are recognised as one of many 5 most essential areas for migratory and wintering shorebirds within the Americas – an estimated 1.3 million go by way of in autumn, together with globally essential populations of Western Sandpiper (32%) and Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus (20%), amongst others. Panama Audubon Society (BirdLife Companion) spearheaded strikes to save lots of the bay’s wetlands from growth, resulting in protected standing being ratified by the nation’s Supreme Court docket.

 

5. Wadden Sea, north-west Europe

An unlimited intertidal space shared between the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, the Wadden Sea is without doubt one of the most essential hubs for migratory birds on the planet, but it’s threatened by fishing, salt mining, fuel extraction and local weather change. Some 12 million waterbirds breed, go by way of or overwinter, together with as much as 267,000 Crimson Knot Calidris canutus (Close to Threatened). Good numbers of Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea alba breed, and most migrate to Banc d’Arguin in Mauritania, linking these two UNESCO World Heritage Websites on the identical flyway. Vogelbescherming Nederland (BirdLife Companion) is working to make sure safety from disturbance, particularly at excessive tide when birds have to roost safely.

 

12 million waterbirds can be found at the Wadden Sea © Travelpeter / Shutterstock

 

6. Mediterranean islands

Migrants crossing the Mediterranean relaxation on islands comparable to Malta and Cyprus, the place large-scale unlawful killing stays a difficulty. BirdLife Companions work continuously to counter such threats, for instance by aligning enforcement of anti-hunting legal guidelines in Malta with the migration of European Turtle-doves Streptopelia turtur (Weak), a species that has declined by 80% in Europe within the final 30 years, or combating the unlawful use of mist nets and limesticks to entice hundreds of thousands of songbirds for the consumption of ‘ambelopoulia’ – a neighborhood delicacy in Cyprus.

 

7. Center East

A number of Essential Chicken & Biodiversity Areas from the Crimson Sea north to Lebanon and Syria type a part of an important hall for huge numbers of migrating birds. As many as 1.2 million happen in spring, together with globally vital numbers of European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus, Black Kite Milvus migrans, Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Steppe Buzzard Buteo buteo vulpinus and Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis (Endangered). BirdLife is main the Migratory Hovering Birds venture, working in 11 nations alongside the flyway to minimise the destructive influence of power infrastructure comparable to wind generators and powerlines. Unlawful looking can also be a menace within the northern a part of this area.

 

"Kettling" raptors spiral up out of the mist at Batumi, Georgia ©  Lars Soerink

 

8. Batumi, Georgia

Greater than 1,000,000 raptors migrate by way of the Batumi bottleneck every autumn, over half of them European Honey-buzzards, in addition to big numbers of Steppe Buzzards and Black Kites, amongst massive volumes of different birds of prey. Unlawful killing has been problematic however SABUKO (BirdLife Companion) and the Dutch basis Batumi Raptor Depend are deploying numerous conservation and awareness-raising methods, together with birding tourism.

 

9. Khao Dinsor, Thailand

A whole bunch of hundreds of birds of prey of as much as 25 species go by way of in autumn, making this the premier raptor migration watchpoint in Thailand, and maybe the complete Oriental area. In autumn 2016, as many as 791,229 raptors had been counted. Chinese language Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis, Black Baza Aviceda leuphotes and Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus are the three commonest species, however Gray-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus, Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis and Shikra Accipiter badius can be very quite a few, and different migrants happen.

 

A depiction of the thriving diversity of shorebirds found at China's mud flats © Richard Allen

 

10. Yellow Beach, China

Most of an estimated 50 million waterbirds depend upon the Yellow Sea’s coastal wetlands as a stopover website on migration. Tiaozini and Dongsha shoals, a part of the Yancheng Nature Reserve, are vastly essential for migratory birds on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Amongst many species, they help nearly half of the overall inhabitants of Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (Critically Endangered) and not less than 80% of the world inhabitants of Noticed Greenshank Tringa guttifer (Endangered). A few sixth of the identified world inhabitants of Crimson-crowned Crane Grus japonensis (Endangered) additionally winters at Yancheng, now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Website, partially because of the lobbying efforts of BirdLife and the RSPB (BirdLife within the UK).

 

11. Beidaihe, China

This well-known Essential Chicken & Biodiversity Space in north-east China has misplaced a lot habitat to growth, however has a small reserve and stays essential to very large numbers of migrants crossing the Gulf of Bohai in spring and autumn. These embrace Siberian Crane Leucogeranus leucogeranus (Critically Endangered) and Crimson-crowned Crane, Noticed Greenshank and Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana (Endangered). Notable amongst its focus of land hen migrants is Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola (Critically Endangered), a lot declined on account of large-scale trapping in rice paddies, a apply now outlawed however nonetheless identified to happen within the area.

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