What is Migration?

Migration is the seasonal movement of animals, birds, and insects in search of food, better living conditions, and to reproduce. 

  • They typically migrate over long distances in large groups.
  • Migration always involves a return journey to their original habitat.
  • Migration can happen over land, water, and air. 

Let’s explore the migration patterns of some species.

Migration Patterns

Migrations can occur directionally from north to south, change in altitude from the top to the bottom of a mountain, or even be vertical movements through water columns in oceans.

  • The Monarch Butterfly migrates north to south (from Canada to Mexico) to avoid the cold temperatures in Winter.
  • During Tanzania’s dry season, animals such as zebras, gazelles, and wildebeests migrate in search of food. 
  • Flocks of snow geese migrate from Greenland and Canada to warmer regions in North America.
  • Fish like bull trout migrate in vertical columns every day to find food and avoid being eaten by predators.

What is Hibernation?

During the cold winter season, food becomes scarce. Animals need to conserve their energy to survive the harsh weather conditions, so their normal body activities slow down, and they go into deep sleep. 

  • Breathing and heart rate slow down. 
  • Body temperature drops.
  • Animals store fat in their bodies, which helps them survive without food during winter.
  • The animals wake up when it is Spring to search for food.

Let’s explore the hibernation habits of some species.

Hibernating Habits

Several animal species hibernate during winter. Different species can hibernate for days, weeks, or even months

  • Small animals like the chipmunks wake up every few days to eat stored food.
  • Large animals like bears can sleep for over 100 days without food and water.
  • Reptiles like snakes go into holes deep underground to hibernate.
  • Insects like the bumblebee hibernate all through winter in underground. burrows.
  • The Common Poorwill is the only bird that hibernates for 100 days.

Fun Facts

Here are some fascinating facts about migration and hibernation!!

  • The Arctic Tern makes the longest migration of any species from the Arctic to the Antarctic, covering a distance of 25,000 miles.
  • Grey whales have one of the longest animal migrations, traveling 12,000 miles from the Bering Sea to Baja California.
  • Garter snakes hibernate in groups of hundreds or even thousands to survive the Canadian winter.
  • Snails can hibernate inside their shells for up to three years.


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about migration and hibernation.

  • What are the three reasons for the migration of species? Search for food, better living conditions, and reproduction
  • Which bird makes the longest migration of any species from the North Pole to the South Pole? Arctic Tern
  • Which two body activities slow down during hibernation? Breathing and Heart Rate
  • What is the energy source for hibernating animals that are not eating or drinking? The fat stored in their body.
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