Migration

A cluster of western monarch butterflies clings to a branch as it overwinters in California.

The Best Place to Watch Monarch Butterflies Migrate Might Be This Little California Beach Town

Thousands of western monarchs migrate to Pismo Beach each fall to escape winter cold, but climate change threatens the species' survival

Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site is home to hundreds of petroglyphs and pictrographs.

Centuries-Old Pottery Could Reveal When the Crow Arrived in Wyoming

Radiocarbon dating of ceramics found at Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site may offer new insights on the region's Indigenous history

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter arrived on Mars on February 18, 2021.

Ask Smithsonian

Why Did NASA Test a Helicopter on Mars?

You've got question. We've got experts

Great white sharks travel hundreds of miles to specific locations in the world’s oceans.

New Evidence Suggests Sharks Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Navigate

Bonnethead sharks swam in the direction of their home waters when placed in a tank charged with an electromagnetic field

A prairie warbler greets the spring in New Jersey.

Smithsonian Voices

How Scientists Are Deciphering the Many Mysteries of Migratory Birds

Each spring across the forests, lakes and suburbs of North America, millions of birds take a long journey north in search of summer nesting territory

Butterflies in Mexico’s monarch reserve. Their wings can function as solar panels, converting sunlight into energy for flight.

An Epic Monarch Migration Faces New Threats

The butterflies’ path, which stretches thousands of miles, is endangered by an array of challenges, including changes in climate and pesticides

The migration advances an average of 25 to 30 miles a day. A cyclist can cover similar distances.

What I Learned Biking the 10,000-Mile Migration Route of Monarch Butterflies

I set off to be the first person to cycle alongside the butterflies to raise awareness of their alarming decline

The lights of the Philadelphia skyline at night.

Philadelphia Skyscrapers Turn Lights Off to Save Migrating Birds

A new program aimed at reducing deadly collisions with buildings for migrating birds is set to begin on April 1

Sauropodomorphs are a group of massive, long-necked dinosaurs that are the largest dinosaurs and land animals that ever lived, and later evolved into Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus.

Climate Change May Have Aided Dinosaurs' Journey From South America to Greenland

A shift in CO2 levels millions of years ago made conditions on Earth milder, allowing herbivores, like sauropodomorphs, to migrate to Greenland

Three adult gray whales photographed via drone in 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Laguna San Ignacio off the coast of Mexico. The three shots show increasingly skinny whales, a bad sign for an animal that needs to make a 10,000-mile return trip to reach its feeding grounds.

New Research

Nearly 400 Gray Whales Have Died Off the West Coast Since 2019

Scientists say the die-off, which is entering its third year, is likely due to a scarcity of food in the animals’ cold water feeding grounds

Longer days signal to birds when they should breed and lay their new clutch of eggs, and they match up their timing so that their chicks are born when the springtime's bounty is at its peak.

Light Pollution Is Causing Birds to Nest Earlier, Mitigating Some Effects of Climate Change

But two wrongs don't make a right, as both problems are altering the birds' biology

The new archive tracks how 96 different species have moved across the Arctic over the last 28 years.

Arctic Wildlife Are Shifting Their Behaviors Due to Climate Change

The new, collaborative data archive tracks nearly 100 species over the last three decades

A genetic analysis revealed that by the end of the last ice age—around 11,000 years ago—there were a least five distinct lineages that gave rise to dogs in New Guinea, the Americas, northern Europe, the Near East and Siberia.

How Dogs and Humans Evolved and Migrated in Tandem

Our relationship with pups spans millennia, and new DNA analysis shows just how much people influenced canine evolution

The area is home to about 500 residential eagles that attract visitors year-round, most especially in the fall when migrating birds up the count to historic highs of 3,000.

Alaska

Behold the Largest Congregation of Bald Eagles in the United States

Every November, hundreds if not thousands of the birds of prey gather in Haines, Alaska, to feast on salmon

Bar-tailed godwits spend their summers in the Arctic, where they breed and build up their energy reserves before flying south for the winter.

Bird Flies 7,500 Miles, a New Record for Longest Nonstop Bird Migration

After summering in the Arctic, a bar-tailed godwit soared across the Pacific Ocean like a "jet fighter" to winter in New Zealand

Blue whales are the world’s largest animals, and they can grow to the length of three school buses in a row.

Blue Whales Sing All Day When They Migrate and All Night When They Don't

Their mysterious songs could be an 'acoustic signature of migration'

To make up for some of the missing income, and to bring much-needed attention to conservation efforts right now, many safari companies have pivoted to virtual experiences.

Virtual Travel

Want to Support Wildlife Conservation in Africa? Start by Going on a Virtual Safari

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the beleaguered safari industry is livestreaming game drives to draw attention to its cause

Knowing that the birds do some extracurricular exploration when they reach their breeding grounds means scientists may need to expand the range of future studies.

High-Tech Tracking Reveals 'Whole New Secret World of Birds'

A study of Kirtland’s warblers found that some continue exploring long distances even after they reach their breeding grounds

A stone point from Chiquihuite cave

Discovery in Mexican Cave May Drastically Change the Known Timeline of Humans' Arrival to the Americas

In a controversial new study, scientists cite artifacts dating the event to more than 26,000 years ago

Sunrise at the Tongariki site on Easter Island

Native Americans and Polynesians Met Around 1200 A.D.

Genetic analysis of their modern descendants shows that people from the Pacific Islands and South America interacted long before Europeans arrived

loading icon