Mississippi Flyway a route for migrating birds

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The wild mallard drakes and hens pictured here are members of one of the most abundant birds on Earth. They makeup a large portion of the migratory birds that travel the Mississippi Flyway. Mississippi Flyway is a term used to describe a migration route taken twice each year by millions of migrating birds. Most often associated with ducks and geese, the Mississippi Flyway is also a defined migration route used by many other birds including warblers, thrushes, blackbirds, sparrows and a variety of shorebirds.

The Mississippi Flyway extends in North America from northern Alaska to the delta lowlands at the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. This is nearly a 4,000 mile journey for birds that breed north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. For some migratory birds such as the purple martin, the journey extends thousands of miles farther into the northern reaches of Argentina in South America. 

In North America, this great flyway passes over no mountainous terrain and follows rivers and lowland areas where birds can land to feed. For these reasons the Mississippi Flyway is the most used travel route by the continents migratory birds. 

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by Aaron at The Painted Wren Gallery.

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