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Thread subject: MIGRATION 101 ;-)
Name Date Message
Marie 09/07/05 04:36 pm EVERY ONE READY!

Flyways of North America and CUBA.

Most people here I believe know about the 4 flyways that most birds tend to migrate along/use in North America.
But, for those that are unfamiliar and for the record I will list them. However I will not describe where they are located for they really are self explanatory, except when it comes to describing the Mississippi flyway. ( Homework...Google North American migration flyways and check out the maps) The Mississippi Flyway, or lack of the Delta area now, has tremendous impact on birds due to Katrina. The loss of much of the Delta and wetlands in the surrounding area will have a major impact on migrating birds. I go into more detail on the Mississippi flyway below.

1) for our Eastern friends..;-) I will use the ATLANTIC FLYWAY first...even though I live on the Pacific flyway. Remembering too of course, DPOF ospreys will use some of this area, so it is important to recognize our Osprey friends first !However, we do know that Ospreys are broad-band migratory birds so spread out over a much wider area than other birds that tend to migrate in large numbers down specific corridors.

2) Mississippi Flyway.
3) Central Flyway
4) Pacific Flyway.

The largest migration route of the Western Hemisphere lies in the Mississippi corridor. Its northern end is on the Arctic coast of Alaska, and its southern end finishes in Patagonia. Right in the middle sits the Mississippi Delta. Some birds having reached the Delta from points south fly more than 3000 miles to the McKenzie area and points beyond. In the spring/fall migration some shorebirds traverse the full length of this corridor, twice in any year. Apparently all the necessary timber/trees, water/sloughs/rivers/lakes are to be found on this flyway, making it ideal for ducks, geese, shorebirds, blackbirds, sparrows, warblers, and thrushes to mention a few species that prefer to migrate down/up this flyway.
How will these avian friends of ours fair this fall on their migration now that one of the most important stop overs, the Mississippi Delta is so devastated/poisoned. Certainly FOOD-FOR-THOUGHT!
I will keep you posted as more info is available.


I found out that Cuba is a wonderful stop over for our Ospreys that migrate from the east coast to points beyond in South America. Ospreys seem to gather particularly in the Gran Piedra National Park situated on the east side of Cuba. An article in the National Geographic Feb 21 2003. highlights this. They suggested that Cuba was possibly the main migration corridor for ospreys in the world. Those ospreys that breed in the eastern third of the States almost all swing through CUBA. They also mentioned that ospreys are incredible monitors of the health of ecosystems. During the peak migration times, 279 ospreys can be counted in the National PARK, during HAWK WATCH activities. These numbers represent a two and a half hour watch. As a contrast to these numbers only 580+ ospreys can be counted during the entire Hawk watch at Hawk mountain.
Now the downside to all of this info on ospreys using Cuba as a major stop over on migration is that in Cuba, destruction of habitat and hunting is
There is very little CONCERN for the environment.
A Revolutionary hunter's slogan is reportedly to say...
' BIRD'S that escape in the night, FALL in the morning "
IE are SHOT!
I was deeply distressed by this when I read it.
However, the GOOD NEWS is that there are a few environmentalist, biologists and concerned, informed, and interested citizens who are trying to bring awareness of the magnificence of OSPREYS, and their ultimate VALUE to the economy in terms of Birding safaris, etc , etc.
Ospreys are beginning to be Valued and are winning the hearts of so many.
Celeste 09/07/05 06:57 pm Once again so interesting......Gessner's next book which he has finished writing, but still requires other steps before it is published, focuses on Cuba (not just "us"), and now I have a better understanding why he travelled to Cuba last year. The Delta situation is a sad situation for our migratory birds......they have so many obstacles, and who knows what this will mean for the population of our feathered friends.
Anne 09/08/05 06:15 am Is all the delta poisoned? I presume it is marshland so can drain to the sea. But I dont know about the lake into which they are pumping all the polluted water from New Orleans.

One of my books on migration by A Landsborough Thomson says that the Mississippi Delta is of international importance for wintering duck. I hate to think what could happen with all that pollution.
Marie 09/08/05 03:29 pm Hi Anne, I believe much of the water in that area as well as the sea is contaminated with sewage, dead bodies, chemical, oil spills etc. Not a pretty picture. Hopefully there are a few water areas north that didn't get too ravaged by the storm and are a refuge for the wildlife, without killing them. Who knows what is draining into some of the streams, sloughs, ponds, lakes etc. We will soon find out. Bird life International will probably have a bulletin out soon with respect to this area but sometimes it takes weeks, months to see the impact of such a storm on the wildlife.
Anne 09/08/05 05:21 pm The only heartening thing I can say is that very often disasters dont affect the birds as much as expected. For example there was a dreadful oil spillage from a tanker off the NW tip of Spain a couple of years ago. The Wildlife Organisations were very worried because that is where most of Northern Europes breeding seabirds winter. There were casualties, but breeding numbers did not decline to any great extent so many birds avoided the contaminated area.

Then there was a chenical accident in central Spain and a huge area of the Spanish and Portugese wetlands were poisoned. Again the losses were not as great as expected.

Lets hope that the contamination in the delta disperses out at sea before the ducks arrive for the winter. But the real worry is the prospect of ospreys etc picking up poisoned fish.

Copyright © 2006 DPOF

Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006