What is animal migration?

When animals move from one place to another and then return back home again, it is called migration. Animals that migrate can travel thousands of miles and, unlike humans, they can’t take a ride on a bus or aeroplane! They have to travel by walking, flying or swimming.  

Migration is a seasonal movement, that means animals do the same trip every year in the same season. It’s similar to us going on holiday every summer or every winter.

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Why do animals migrate?

Animals migrate for many reasons, sometimes it’s because the weather is too hot or too cold. Other times they migrate to find more food or to find a safe place to have their babies.


How do they know when to migrate?

Animals are very good at detecting changes in the weather, they can detect many things before we can! When they notice that days are becoming longer or shorter, that the weather is hotter or colder or that food and water is becoming harder to find, they know it’s time to migrate.

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How do they find their way?

Ever wondered how animals find their way with no maps and no internet? The truth is that even scientists find it a mystery! Some animals use the Sun and stars to figure out which direction to follow, while others are guided by the Earth’s magnetic fields or wind patterns. Animals seem to be born 'knowing' where to migrate. Scientists call this instinct.