The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the lead federal
agency for managing and conserving migratory birds in the United States.
Migratory birds nest throughout North America, some as far north as the
Arctic. In late summer and fall, these birds migrate south for the winter.
Some winter in the southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America while
others go as far as South America. Then, each spring they must return
north to their breeding grounds
Birds migrate along four main routes or flyways: the
Atlantic, Central, Mississippi and Pacific. These flyways are not specific
lines the birds follow but broad areas through which the birds migrate.
The Chesapeake Bay watershed lies within the Atlantic Flyway.
For some birds, the Chesapeake Bay is their winter destination.
About 1 million swans, geese and ducks winter on the Bay. This is roughly
one third of all waterfowl wintering along the Atlantic Coast.
Many migratory songbirds, shorebirds and raptors rest
and refuel here during their spring and fall migrations. Still others
winter south and return to the Chesapeake Bay watershed each spring to
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) is celebrated
in May. Visit our IMBD page to learn much more
about migratory birds and their needs.