[ELI5] How do birds choose where to settle for summer/winter?

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Like, in spring, when I look at a bird that has just returned from its winter vacation, why did that bird choose my small town and not the town two counties over? or one of my neighboring countries?

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2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Most migratory birds are *very* good navigators and will return to the same spot year after year. Often this is the same spot they were originally born in.

They’ll then disperse a little to find a mate or escape a too-crowded nesting area, so over many years they will begin to populate other nearby areas as older birds chase younger ones away from the prime spots.

For the winter migration, more experienced birds that have completed the route before will fly to the same overwintering spots too, and that years hatchlings will follow them and learn the good spots along the way.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’m not sure if i know the answer to this but I know that i once saw a documentary where researchers did a study on birds migrating for winter. During the summer they’ve located some birds and tagged them. The birds then traveled far south and the next season they came back to the very same part of the forest.