Facts About Bird Migration In Central America for Your Birding Tour

It is very common for people to travel to Central America, because of its latitude, to experience the warm weather. It’s even more, for people that enjoy birding to go into this area of the world which is known for tropical rain forests and hundreds of different species of birds. Many of them that live there are continuously residing in the jungles, rain forests, and even at the base of volcanoes. However, there are some that migrate to this location during the winter, and travel back home once spring arrives, like clockwork at certain times of the year. Here are some of the latest facts about bird migrations that commonly happen in Central America.

An Overview Of Why Birds Migrate

Although most people understand why birds migrate, they may not know the whole story. In general, it is assumed that birds migrate because they are traveling to locations to avoid the winter months. Although this is true, there are others that are migrating because they need to breed. They will travel thousands of miles, to the place of their birth, in order to perpetuate their species. Other reasons that they will migrate will include the need for consistent food. Some of them are primarily insect eaters, and insects tend to only be in areas that are warm.  It is for these reasons that birds tend to migrate, and there are quite a few of them. This would include swallows, storks, and hummingbirds, birds of all different sizes and colors.

Do All Birds Migrate?

Not all birds are going to migrate. There are some birds that never travel further than a mile their entire life. For example, if you have a partridge that is in your neighborhood, it is likely from the same lineage that has been there for hundreds of years. Studies have shown that right around 4000 different types of birds migrate. There are only 10,000 different species of birds, which means that just under half of all bird species will migrate to a certain degree. These migratory birds are divided up into different classifications. Some are referred to as summer visitors. They will ascend from a southern location, arriving in the spring, for the purpose of finding food and breeding. Others are winter visitors, those that will arrive during autumn, and will actually remain in this location even though they could experience snow and cold weather.

What Type Of Birds Migrate In Central America?

If you get to visit a location such as Costa Rica, you will likely see several different species of birds that are migrating. You might even be taking a cruise through Panama, and you will see what thousands of birds could be migrating out one time. The birds in Central America that tend to migrate are going to be songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, and also raptors that are looking for food. You may see many of these flying overhead during the day, but there are those that will only migrate during the night or evening hours. There may be several flocks that you will never see flying by as they can go several thousand feet into the air. There are birds that will actually fly over the Himalayas, reaching altitudes of over 29,000 feet such as bar headed geese that do this on an annual basis. However, for Central America, you will often see warblers, hummingbirds, Eastern Kingbirds and Scarlet Tanagers flying by.

 

What Time Of Year Should You Visit To See Them?

The best time of the year to go is typically during March and April. This is because the dry season is ending and the wet season is about to begin. In this area of the world, there are only two seasons because of the direct sunlight that the terrain is exposed to at this latitude. This is why you will see more people in places like Costa Rica during this time of the year. Not only is it dry, but it’s also wind that migratory birds will start to fly in mass numbers out of this area. Some reports have stated that over a million birds could be seen flying overhead. It just depends on where you are in Central America and what type of bird you are currently looking for. If you are there for at least a couple of weeks, you will eventually see migratory birds departing the area.

What Is The Best Way To View These Migratory Birds?

Although people who have done birding for many decades often bring spotter scopes or binoculars, advancements in technology, specifically digital cameras, have really change the way that people wait for these migratory birds. In fact, since there are hundreds of species of these birds in this region of Central America, you can spend your time filming birds that are not migratory, all the while waiting for the large flocks to go overhead. It is also recommended that you schedule a few tours. Before you choose them, you should ask about mass bird migrations. They can tell you what time of the year would be best to visit, and if their tour can actually show you migratory birds. This is information that you need to gather before scheduling different birding tours when you visit Central America with Costa Rica Focus. In many cases, most of the tours that you will book will be able to show you these migratory birds.

If you decide to travel to Central America to see this, there are many of them that leave this area right before the rainy season. They are doing so to avoid the rains and also fly north to find sources for food. Others are going to leave in order to do their breeding and will subsequently come back months later. This area of the world is so beautiful. Just make sure that you find out when the birds will be migrating before you book your vacation. Although you could travel to simply see the birds that are stationary, if you can glimpse large flocks of birds flying overhead this will make your trip even more worthwhile.