Q:

Why is the Bay of Fundy such a great place for migrating shorebirds?

A:

Quick Answer

The Bay of Fundy is a great place for migrating shorebirds because its mud flats provide an abundant source of rich food, which is ideal for birds that need to build energy for sustained flight. The bay's receding tides expose tiny mud shrimp, up to 60,000 per square meter, and present a feast for the assembled flocks of birds. Birds eat and bulk up there until their weight has doubled.

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Why is the Bay of Fundy such a great place for migrating shorebirds?
Credit: cjuneau Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

In the middle of July, the shorebirds begin the epic annual journey from their Arctic breeding grounds to their winter homes in South America. They travel 4,000 kilometers with only one layover in the Bay of Fundy. The females set out first, the males follow in the next wave and the newly fledged youngsters bring up the rear. They are the last to leave the Arctic, and they embark on their first journey without the guidance of experienced fliers. The Bay of Fundy is an essential refuelling rest stop for these remarkable migrating birds, and during peak times, the bay's migrant shorebird population can reach an estimated 2.5 million. Although there are several tourist lookout spots for witnessing this wonder of nature, the area is protected to give the birds peace and allow them to build necessary energy reserves.

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