10 Of The Largest North American Migratory Birds

10 Of The Largest North American Migratory Birds

How many can you guess? Here’s some hints:

1. They can be found in both Canada and the States.  In colder months they will often migrate to the Southern States and to Mexico but many have become permanent residents in areas which offer a warmer winter season. When migrating they utilize the infamous V formation which allows them to cover thousands of kilometers per day.

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2. They ride thermals which allows them to save energy as they search for carcasses which they sniff out with their great noses. Bigger than most other raptors, they are readily recognized by the ‘fingers’ on the tips of their wings. They are a dark brown with a red head and a pale beak.

3. These leggy birds are often seen in marshes or along the coastline in various water sources.  Their long necks allow them to swallow fish or mice whole in one quick motion; after standing motionless, quietly waiting, sometimes, for long periods of time.

4. The bird of the States; although Alaska and Canada have the largest numbers. These birds were once on the decline but are now a growing population and have been removed from the endangered species list.  They are easily recognizable with their white head and tail.

5. This is one of the largest of the raptors, fast and sharp-eyed.  Mainly found in Western Northern America, these birds prey on rabbits and other small mammals.  They are dark brown once they reach adulthood with beautiful golden feathers on their head and neck.

6. These white birds breed in the Arctic but find habitats on the North American shores in the off season. Quite majestic in appearance, these long necked swans sometimes travel over thousands of kilometers when migrating.  They are often confused with the Trumpeter Swan; however their distinct calls easily identifies them to avid bird watchers.

7. This bird is the tallest of them all in North America.  They can be found in Wood Buffalo National Park and migrate to the Southern States.  When their wings are spread one can see the black tips that are hidden when not in flight.  These birds are white with red, black, and grey markings on their head and neck.

8. These birds are grey in colour with red caps on their elegant heads.  Flocking together sometimes in the thousands, these birds make a definite commotion when they take flight. They are very tall with long necks and legs; and they have a short tail hidden by their sturdy body of feathers.

9. White with long orange bills, they are duck like; however unlike ducks, they do not dive for their supper but scoop the fish up with their bill pouches.  Unlike most birds, they do not lay their eggs in a nest but rather inside a small depression which is quite often barely big enough to house the eggs.

10. Is claimed to be the heaviest living bird native to North America. They are easily recognisable by the fact that they are completely white with a black beak. Hunted for their feathers these birds were thought to be almost extinct but larger populations have been confirmed. Sometimes you will see them with their bottoms-up as they reach down into the water to acquire aquatic vegetation for their supper.

Answers: Canada Goose, Turkey Vulture, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Tundra Swan, Whooping Crane, Sandhill Crane, American White Pelican, Trumpeter Swan

10 Of The Largest North American Migratory Birds