Interactive Maps for Migratory Birds

Popular Science headline: These new interactive maps reveal the incredible global journeys of migrating birds

sub-headline: The Bird Migration Explorer, from the National Audubon Society and partners, shows you where birds go and how they get there.


The blackburnian warbler is a tiny songbird that weighs about the same as four pennies. Some of them are yellow, streaked with black and white. Others brandish a splash of tangerine across their face and throat. These birds typically spend their summers in the northeast US and some parts of Canada. In the winter, they fly down to South America, where they spend time in coffee plantations across Colombia, eating insect pests like spiders, aphids, ants, flies, beetles, and mosquitos alongside other migrating birds like tanagers and orioles.

“Migratory birds are really important,” says Jill Deppe, senior director of the migratory bird initiative at the National Audubon Society. “In a single year, a single bird can eat enough insect pests to save a farmer 25 pounds of coffee per acre.”

Many birds make incredible trips every year. The Arctic tern completes globe-trotting flights from one pole to another, clocking in 49,700 miles in a year; and the bar-tailed godwit holds the record for the longest non-stop flight at 7,000 miles.