Arch lights off as thousands of birds travel the Mississippi Flyway during annual migration

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A journey thousands of miles, with a pit stop in St. Louis.

“The birds are coming up in Central and South America and they’re going through Missouri,” explains Michael Zeloski, Director of Facilities with World Bird Sanctuary.

Their route through Missouri is also known as the Mississippi Flyway. The final destination is further to the north, in Canada. This week is prime time for travel.

“Timing is perfect because you can see the trees are all leafing out and there’s lots of inchworms, bugs, spiders, and plenty of food for the birds to eat right now,” explains Zeloski.

The birds also planning their travel around the forecast.

“They’ll take off into the night sky. If the storms hit St. Louis and the surrounding areas right around that time, they might be delayed. Or if it rains for two or three days in a row they’ll just stay here. In some ways it could be good for them,” says Zeloski. “They’ll just fatten up on the food source here. As soon as the weather breaks the next day they’ll be gone.”

In large groups, birds can be seen on weather radar. Images from radar show the highway in the sky. If not seen on radar, you can catch them close to home.

“Oh they’ll come right through your yard,” says Zeloski. “I encourage young kids to get out today while they’re having to stay home anyway and look around and listen and learn the birds.”

If you can’t catch them in the yard, you can come to the World Bird Sanctuary. Right now there is a drive-thru safari Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. The sanctuary showcases the birds, while still social distancing.

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