European birds’ spring migration

This is a European bee-eater video.

From BirdLife:

Spring Alive 2011 ready to fly, with some bright and brand new feathers

Wed, Feb 2, 2011

BirdLife and its Partners have announced the start of Spring Alive 2011: a European-wide project that invites families with young children to communicate their first personal observations of migratory birds arriving near their home.

Participants are encouraged to add their observations to the Spring Alive 2011 website, where tens of thousands of sightings will contribute to an online map, allowing visitors to track the arrival of migratory birds across Europe as the season pans out. Now in its fifth year, Spring Alive tracks five migrant species including the Common Swift Apus apus, Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica, White Stork Ciconia ciconia, Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus and a very colourful newcomer in 2011: the European Bee-eater Merops apiaster!

One of Europe’s most colourful birds, European Bee-eaters are doubly conspicuous thanks to their willingness to perch on wires, dead trees and other elevated areas where they spot their insect prey. Bee-eaters are particularly social, often found in large flocks when not migrating and even helping to raise each others’ chicks. Migration takes a heavy toll on this species, with scientists estimating that only one out of every three European Bee-Eaters to leave Europe in Autumn will return in Spring.

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