Following an instinct many thousands of years old, millions of ducks and geese fly south every autumn. Waterfowl finds overwintering habitat in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. As spring arrives, the birds return to the lakes and marshes of North America, driven by a biological urge to nest.
The Mystery of Migration
How can birds find their way for thousands of miles each way during migration? Scientists believe that birds navigate using the sun and stars, visual landmarks, the Earth's magnetic field, and gravity. As they migrate, waterfowl follow general routes called flyways, which are shown on this map.
A Rest Stop along the Way
Natural rest stops are important as stopover points because they provide resting and feeding areas all along the difficult journey. Wildlife refuges and natural parks provide seasonal homes and are essential support during the annual migration.