The cranes are heading south too. Image: Andreas Trepte,
Read out Now she's off again, the biggest wave of travel on our planet: Billions of migratory birds are making their way to their winter quarters - the approaching winter is driving Kranich, Storch and Co. into the warm South. Here they find food and habitat, until it pulls them back to the north next spring. But why do the migratory birds actually take on these travel strains - why do not they just stay in the warm south forever? The answer is known by avian expert Julian Heiermann of the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU): "The north offers the birds a lot of food and optimal conditions for the rearing of the young during the summer months." To illustrate the connection, he draws a comparison to the travel behavior of the people: "Some people think of a warm holiday beach: Here you could stay forever. But the livelihood and the cozy apartment will eventually drive us back to our homeland. "

In addition, the living conditions in the southern winter quarters are often not ideal for the feathered winter guests. Many birds are already living here all year round, so migratory birds must compete with local species for food and habitat. European summer, on the other hand, offers almost paradisiacal living conditions: while heat and drought gather in some winter quarters, there is plenty of food and nesting sites in the summer months of the north. About 200 European bird species are therefore commuters - the winter quarters is only their last resort.

Incidentally, even Germany is a wintering country for migratory birds. "For example, the Waxwing, who lives in Scandinavia and Siberia in the summer, spends the winter with us until it pulls it back into the far north, " says Heiermann. Birds are not keen on traveling - if it does, some species may even avoid the long journey. "The star, for example, is such a part-puller who adapts his train behavior to the circumstances, " says the expert. Some star populations do not fly south in the winter, but instead move to our cities, where they also find food, warmth and cozy quarters.

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