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See the intercontinental path of two birds on their epic migration from Europe to Africa

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The guys over at 422 South have done it again providing us a wonderful “data-visualization” of the migratory path of the European honey buzzard.  The European honey buzzard, also known as the pern, migrates every year from Europe to the warmer coasts of Africa where it spends the winter months soaking in the warm sun and sipping on drinks with little umbrellas in them. 

The visual below shows the remarkable flight paths of two such honey buzzards, a male and a female, between Fall 2010 and Spring 2011.  Both birds’ southward migration took them from the Veluwe forest in the Netherlands to the warmer weather on the African coast (Liberia, Ghana, and Cameroon).  After wintering in Africa, both birds flew back to the Veluwe forest (the male arrived first in Veluwe and waited patiently for his partner).

Intercontinental path of two Europen honey buzzard birds on their epic migration from Europe to Africa

It is believed that the honey buzzard navigates its epic migration using magnetic orientation as well as a visual memory of remarkable geographical features such as mountain ranges, rivers, and forests.  It typically avoids flying over large bodies of water over which it is unable to soar efficiently.  As such, great numbers can be seen crossing the Mediterranean Sea over narrow areas such as the Gibraltar Strait.

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