Changing weather patterns and conservation challenges are having a significant impact on bird migration patterns. According to the National Audubon Society (NAS), North America has lost more than 2.5 billion migratory birds since 1970. 

The NAS tracts migration data for 458 bird species that breed in the U.S. and Canada. Recent tracking data, from the interactive Bird Migration Explorer, finds that at least 299 species connect New York City to at least 30 other countries and territories in the hemisphere, including Argentina and Uruguay. 

The Explorer also finds that the “River of Raptors” migration corridor in Veracruz, Mexico, is a hub connecting the extreme northern and southern ends of the globe. 

“People have always been curious and amazed by migratory birds and their incredible journeys, but only recently are scientists piecing together the full picture of how these birds travel from one end of the globe to the other,” said Dr. Jill Deppe, senior director of Audubon’s Migratory Bird Initiative. “Migratory birds also need our help—populations are facing steep declines across the board. By consolidating and visualizing this data, the Bird Migration Explorer can teach us more about how to protect these incredible travelers that connect people across the entire hemisphere," said Dr. Deppe.

Humans continue to have a negative effect on bird migration patterns. Television, radio and cell towers cause up to 7 million bird collisions each year in North America, according to the American Bird Conservancy.

Birds tend to follow the same migration patterns each year and travel anywhere from 15 to 600 miles per day. Birds can average 15 to 55 miles an hour depending on wind and weather patterns. The Arctic Tern can fly more than 49,700 miles each year.

Free-roaming birds also have a devastating impact on the migration of birds. Introduced to the the 15th century, they are now the number-one direct, human-caused threat to birds, killing approximately 2.4 billion wild birds there each year. 
“In times of uncertainty, birds are a symbol of hope, connectivity and perseverance. This new platform brings vital research together and shows how birds connect communities, countries and continents, said Scott Sillett, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. “From tracking and studying birds in native, urban, and agricultural habitats and successfully breeding species in human care for the first time, to creating an immersive exhibit dedicated to these feathered travelers.”