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  • Each spring, nature lovers eagerly greet the signs

  • that winter is finally coming to an end.

  • As the days grow warmer,

  • the flowers and trees start to bloom,

  • and the world comes alive

  • with the melodious call of birds

  • in search of a new mate.

  • But where have these enchanting sounds

  • been hiding all winter?

  • For almost 200 species of song birds,

  • their winters have been spent

  • down in the tropical climates

  • of Central and South America.

  • While this may sound ideal,

  • it involves one of the most perilous journeys

  • known in the entire animal kingdom.

  • This journey is called migration,

  • and for song birds,

  • this can involve travelling somewhere

  • between a few hundred to almost 7,000 miles

  • in a period of several weeks

  • to four months.

  • Birds spend weeks preparing

  • for the intense journey

  • by gorging on large quantities of food,

  • sometimes doubling their weight

  • prior to departure.

  • While flying, birds can lose

  • almost one percent of their body weight an hour,

  • so packing on the pounds is crucial to their survival.

  • However, more than the physical stress,

  • migrating birds are now facing

  • a new source of hardship:

  • landscape change.

  • Just imagine you're the one

  • getting ready to take a trip.

  • You've packed the car

  • with everything you think you need,

  • fueled up the tank,

  • eaten a huge breakfast,

  • and hit the road.

  • You've taken this journey before.

  • You know all your favorite rest stops

  • and little back-alley diners to grab a bite.

  • Everything is planned out.

  • But just as your fuel gauge starts

  • dipping into the red zone,

  • you pass by what should have been a gas station,

  • except it's closed.

  • "Not a problem," you think,

  • "The next one can't be too far away."

  • But then that next station never appears.

  • Unfortunately, as you continue on your route,

  • the reality of the situation starts to set in.

  • More and more stations are closed

  • or just erased from your map.

  • All of a sudden, your routine trip

  • has become a desperate search

  • just to find somewhere safe to rest

  • and refuel for the night.

  • This scenario has become the reality

  • for the majority of migrating song birds

  • as human land development continues unchecked.

  • Humans are altering important stop-over sites

  • that birds have been using for generations.

  • As migrators pass over the continent,

  • they run a gauntlet of dangers,

  • including pesticide ingestion in rural farmlands,

  • habitat loss in suburban developments,

  • as well as disorientation from light pollution,

  • and even structure collision

  • with tall, reflective glass buildings in cities.

  • Of the estimated 20 billion individual birds

  • that comprise the fall population,

  • only about half will return

  • to breed the following spring.

  • Almost one billion of these deaths

  • are attributed just to building collisions.

  • With such astounding yearly losses,

  • humans risk more than just the loss

  • of the beautiful colors and songs of birds,

  • they also play an important role in the ecosystem.

  • Birds help with insect control,

  • pollination,

  • and disbursing seeds throughout the landscape.

  • Without birds, the natural world

  • would be a very different place.

  • Although birds face an on-going threat

  • from human land development,

  • there are actions that we can all take to help.

  • Many countries and local governements

  • have already passed important laws

  • that restrict the use of poisonous pesticides.

  • By using more natural, plant-based products,

  • we can maintain our farms and gardens

  • without the dangerous side effects.

  • In addition, as our global populations continue to grow

  • and people need places to call home,

  • green spaces can offer both bird habitat

  • as well as a peaceful and natural place

  • for us to enjoy.

  • Small changes at home

  • can also make a huge difference.

  • By hanging up feeders

  • and building bird houses in outdoor areas,

  • we can provide much-needed food and safety

  • during long migrations.

  • Turning out lights in suburban

  • and urban environments

  • can also help birds

  • that look for stars to navigate.

  • With our help, these sky travellers

  • can reach their destination safely,

  • and hopefully keep returning year after year.

Each spring, nature lovers eagerly greet the signs

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B1 TED-Ed journey bird suburban migration migrating

【TED-Ed】Bird migration, a perilous journey - Alyssa Klavans

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    Zenn posted on 2014/04/20
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