How Far Can Birds Fly?

Posted by Nancy on 3/4/2015 to Learn More About Birds

Question:  I gave my grandson a bird feeder and he is becoming interested in birding.  He asked a question that I have no idea how to answer.   He asked "How far can a bird fly?"  I know that you have grandchildren that you are teaching about nature.  Have you got an answer for an eight year old?

Answer:  I think I would tell him about bird migration and have a few maps ready.  At this age he probably has made a few car trips and can compare distances.  Here are the distances a few birds migrate:

  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are often seen at hummingbird feeders so this may be a bird he can identify.  They take off from the gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas to fly over 600 miles to the Yucatan Peninsula without stopping.  So if you are driving in a car at 70 MPH you would have ride in the car for 9 hours without stopping for anything to eat, drink or for the bathroom.
  • Blackpoll Warblers, which he may have seen at bird baths, migrate over the Atlantic Ocean without stopping for 88 hours.  They fly from the northeastern United States to South America, over 1860 miles.
  • In October 2007 a Bar-tailed Godwit was tracked with satellite tags traveling 7,145 miles from Alaska to New Zealand.  It was a nine day journey without stopping for food, drink or rest.

I hope that this will help you answer your grandson's question about birds.  I think it is great you are taking the time to encourage his interest in nature.

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