Since you were a child, you probably have accepted the fact that animals migrate. Birds fly south during the winter and salmon swim upstream so that they can spawn. No big deal, right?
Well, when you see these magnificent natural phenomena with your own eyes, you’ll realize it’s a bigger deal than you could ever image. The sheer scale of these migrations are epic. Thousands of individual animals instinctively travel hundreds or thousands of miles every year. Different species of birds, bugs, fish and mammals all do it. Who knew that something so simple we take for granted could be so mind blowing?
1.) Beluga whales: These “canaries of the sea” (named because of their complex calls) migrate in sync with sea ice patterns in Arctic waters every year.
2.) Monarch butterflies: These creatures have the longest migration of any butterfly species. They travel up to 3,000 miles from North American to either central Mexico or the California coast.
3.) Red knots: These red shorebirds fly over 9,000 miles biannually from their Arctic nesting habitat to wintering grounds in Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago at the southern tip of South America.
4.) Horseshoe crabs: Horseshoe crabs migrate from deep-bay and continental shelf waters every spring and summer to beaches so that they can spawn.
5.) Spiny lobsters: These lobsters migrate seasonally, moving with more temperate waters. They form giant single-file lines and walk until they get to the preferred waters.
6.) Pacific walruses: These walruses live in the northern seas off Russia and Alaska and migrate in sync with pack ice.
7.) Wildebeest: Up to 1.5 million wildebeests, along with other animals, migrate northward each year from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. This migration is one of the most incredible, as they cover anywhere between 500 and 1,000 miles.
8.) Arctic terns: These small birds travel more than 55,000 miles annually, migrating from the Arctic to Antarctica and back.
9.) Sockeye salmon: These fish are found around the northern Pacific coasts of North America and Asia. They live in the ocean but migrate to their natal freshwater streams, lakes and rivers to spawn. Both males and females die within a few weeks of spawning.
10.) Red crabs: On Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, an overwhelming amount of red crabs descend from the forest to the coast to breed and release eggs into the sea. It happens every call, and the crabs cover roads, shores and yards.
11.) Cownose rays: These rays migrate twice a year in response to the seasons. The large groups that migrate are called “fevers,” and the Atlantic cownose rays are said to migrate in schools of hundreds or thousands individuals.
12.) Caribou: Caribou head north in the warmer months and south in the cooler months. Not only that, but the mothers tend to give birth to their calves during migration.
13.) Emperor penguins: This is the largest penguin species and they make large migrations each year around Antarctica to breed and raise their chicks. They spend the brutal winter on the Antarctic ice.
The monarch butterfly migrates such a long distance for such a tiny creature, not one individual can make the round trip (which would make you wonder how they know where to go). This world is truly an incredible place when you take the time to think about it. Click below to share these amazing facts with others.