Although some migratory bird species are becoming more attracted to city life, these unnatural habitats can be harmful to them. Every autumn, Swainson’s thrushes migrate from the north to central and northern South America. On the other hand, some stop in and around cities like Montreal for “pit stops.”
Thousands of migrating birds pause in cities all over the world on their incredible journey of thousands of kilometers. It isn’t always obvious why they choose to live in cities. Some appear to be drawn to light. Others, like the Swainson’s thrush in its berry-filled bush, appear to be taking advantage of the bounty.
How can we make cities more like travel lodges for these animals instead of death traps? According to Morales, a doctoral student at McGill University, and her colleagues, Swainson’s thrushes stop in Montreal for remarkably extended periods of time, where many of the birds molt – a process in which the birds shed and regenerate some of their feathers. This will help them prepare for the long journey ahead of them.