Summer Travel: Animal Migrations

In the summer, most of us pack up and hit the road for summer vacation. Animals are also “on the move” during the summer, though I don’t think they are heading to the nearest amusement park. Scott Cohn’s On the Move: Mass Migrations, illustrated by Susan Detwiler, released this past spring talks about the different reasons why animals all across the world to migrate throughout the year. The spring and summer months are a great time to witness some of these migratory behaviors. OnTheMove_128

For example, on the northwest coast, whale enthusiasts flock to catch a glimpse of some of these nomadic species. Watchers may see any species from orcas to humpback, minke, and gray whales. Whales are strict seasonal travelers who migrate south to warm waters for breeding in the late fall and winter months, while traveling back up north in the spring and summer for feeding in cooler waters. For those of us who can’t make the trip west to see this migration, National Geographic has posted a short clip of a gray whale and her calf on their migratory journey. map_whales

On the east coast, especially in our backyard, beach goers have a chance to witness another migratory species, the loggerhead turtle. These turtles are coming ashore to nest during the summer months. Many conservation practices have been included in city ordinances in order to ensure the safety and survival of the baby loggerhead turtles. For example, visitors staying at the Wild Dunes resort in Isle of Palms, South Carolina are asked to turn off any outside lights at night so that the baby turtles aren’t confused about which way leads to the ocean. You can keep up with reported nest counters, observe video feed from a nest, and more on the “SC Marine Turtle Conservation Program” page on the website of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

CrawlingOutMaTurtleTracksTo&FroAlso, pick up a copy of Scott Cohn’s On the Move, beautifully illustrated by Susan Detwiler, to find out more about animal migratory habits and check out the US Department of Interior’s National Park Service website for more on migration basics. Other suggested titles on this subject from Sylvan Dell include: Carolina’s Story, Turtle Summer, Ocean Seasons, and Turtles in My Sandbox.

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/animals/mammals-animals/whales/whale_graymigration/

http://www.dnr.sc.gov/seaturtle/cc.htm

http://www.nps.gov/akso/parkwise/students/referencelibrary/general/migrationbasics.htm

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