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Bird migration

Over 40% of birds migrate. Even the blackbird in your garden in winter could be a visitor from eastern Europe. Birds mainly migrate to get to the best places for food and for breeding.



Summer visitors

Summer visitors fly to the UK from further south; mostly from the Mediterranean and Africa. During the summer there is more food here and more daylight hours in which to search for it. In the autumn our days get shorter and they return south to their wintering grounds.

Winter visitors

Winter visitors leave northern Europe and the Arctic in Autumn to escape freezing temperatures and shortening hours of daylight. The days here in the UK are longer, the weather is milder and food is easier to find. In spring, they fly back to their breeding grounds further north. As summer arrives in the Arctic the snow melts and there is a huge flush of insects. Birds travel there from all over the world to exploit the abundance of food and the long hours of daylight. The Essex coast is special for overwintering birds like the dark-bellied brent goose, pictured on the right.