How do birds know where they are going when they migrate South, and
how do they find their way back?
Good question! Like many questions, there are several answers. First,
realize that there are lots of different kinds of birds and not all will
use the same systems. Many birds use the sun and/or stars as clues to their position.
Some birds may be able to use either ultraviolet light or magnetic fields, too, which
can also help them. Some birds apparently also recognize and remember particular
features, for instance those that return to the same next
nest site each year. Now one for you -- How do Monarch butterflies,
who have never migrated before, find their way thousands of miles to
the same trees that their parents used? Hmmm?
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Update: June 2012