The Mississippi Flyway: An Essential Migration Route

Starting in central Canada and stretching to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Flyway is the name given to the route followed by birds migrating from their breeding grounds in North America to their wintering grounds in the south…

The flyway includes Canada’s Mackenzie River which flows north through uninhabited forest and tundra into the Arctic Ocean, with tributaries reaching southwards, feeding into and out of a number of lakes, including the Great Slave Lake, Great Bear Lake and Lake Athabasca. As the name suggests, the Mississippi Flyway follows the route of the Mississippi River in the United States – North America’s largest river system. Originating in northern Minnesota, the slow-flowing river travels southwards for a distance of 2,530 miles, cutting through, or forming a border for, the states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee to before emptying into the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Audubon, nearly half of the bird species and up to forty percent of the waterfowl of North America spend part of their lives in the Mississippi Flyway. With spectacular forests, grasslands and wetlands, the route provides good sources of food and water, with no mountainous areas to navigate along the entire route. The greatest elevation above sea level along the route is below 2,000 feet. The route is used by large numbers of geese, ducks, shorebirds, sparrows, blackbirds, thrushes and warblers, the majority of which cut across the Gulf of Mexico, providing excellent birding opportunities along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.

Unfortunately, years of exploitation of natural resources by man has taken its toll on the environment, with waterways being diverted for irrigation having an impact on the habitat that birds and other wildlife rely on. A combination of dams, locks and levees have reduced the Mississippi to less than ten percent of its original floodplain with an estimated nineteen square miles of delta wetlands disappearing annually. Thanks to the efforts of Audubon, which has offices in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, efforts to preserve habitats along the Mississippi Flyway are making a difference to the birds that make use of the route each year. Audubon is currently focusing intensive conservation efforts on twenty-seven bird species along the Mississippi Flyway, namely: Mottled Duck; Greater Prairie-Chicken; Brown Pelican; Little Blue Heron; Reddish Egret; Swallow-tailed Kite; Clapper Rail; Snowy Plover; Wilson’s Plover; Piping Plover; American Oystercatcher; Upland Sandpiper; Ruddy Turnstone; Red Knot; Sanderling; Western Sandpiper; Short-billed Dowitcher; Least Tern; Black Skimmer; Prothonotary Warbler; Swainson’s Warbler; Cerulean Warbler; Grasshopper Sparrow; Henslow’s Sparrow; Seaside Sparrow; Bobolink; and Eastern Meadowlark.


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Greater than 325 bird species make the round-trip yearly along the Mississippi Flyway, from their breeding grounds in Canada and also the northern United States to their wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico and also in Central as well as South America. Most of those birds as well as their important environments were greatly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill habitat that will certainly be more worn down by sea-level rise.

We’ve developed a Gulf-wide stewardship strategy for the complete variety of coastal waterbirds, and this year Audubon got the very first installation of financing from the National Fish as well as Wildlife Structure to get those repair tasks began. We secure Whooping Cranes, Least Terns, Prothonotary Warblers, as well as numerous various other species at both the north and also southern ends of their migrations.

flyways in the USA. The Mississippi Flyway is in yellow The Mississippi Flyway is a bird migration route that typically follows the Mississippi, Missouri, and also Lower Ohio Rivers in the USA throughout the western Great Lakes to the Mackenzie River and also Hudson Bay in Canada. The major endpoints of the flyway consist of central Canada and the area bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

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Some birds use this flyway to move from the Arctic Sea to Patagonia. Usually, birds use this path since no hills or ridges of hillsides block the course over its whole extent. Good sources of water, food, and also cover exist over its whole length. Concerning 40% of all North American migrating waterfowl, as well as shorebirds, use this course.

The Central Flyway combines with the Mississippi Flyway in between Missouri as well as the Gulf of Mexico. In the northern portions of the Upper Mississippi River, the birds congregate in the Driftless Location. Major wild animal havens along with the flyway consist of Trempealeau National Wild Animals Haven as well as Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife as well as Fish Refuge.

US Fish & Wildlife Solution. Smith, John M. (October 13, 2011). “Autumn bird seeing along the Mississippi Flyway”. Stirling EMC (Ontario). p. B – Mississippi fly way. 8. 898383546. Pearson, Erica (September 8, 2019). “Birdspotting along the Mississippi flyway”. TCA Regional News. 2286819221.

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Service agents will be present at the private conferences of the 4 Flyway Councils this August and also September. The purpose of the Council meetings is to examine info on the existing standing of migratory game birds as well as for the Council to develop suggestions for 202122 hunting guidelines for these varieties, which subsequently will exist to the Solution for consideration.

Meetings will be conducted using telephone and video conference. To find out more see web links listed below to Council web sites or upcoming meetings/events of the rate of interest or get in touch with the Flyway Representatives directly. Atlantic Flyway Council: September 2425 Mississippi Flyway Council: August 27 Central Flyway Council: August 2728 Pacific Flyway Council: August 28 The UNITED STATE.

Based upon those courses, four administrative Flyways (Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific) were established in North America to assist in the management of migratory birds and also their environments. Each flyway has a Council, containing representatives from each state, rural, as well as a territorial company within that Flyway. The Councils are suggested by Flyway technological boards containing biological teams from their member companies.

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Within each Flyway, the USFWS has a Flyway Agent and also an assistant who collaborates with the Flyway Council as well as their technological boards to share information and develop monitoring recommendations. To acquire more info about each flyway, please go to the web links below. Forming documents as well as various other information (for GIS applications) that are related to the Flyway Boundaries map.

areas of Puerto Rico and the UNITED STATE Virgin Islands. The Atlantic Flyway Council has representatives (usually administrators) from all the companies that have administration responsibility for migratory bird sources in the Flyway. The Council establishes activities needed for audio migratory video game bird monitoring as well as makes referrals to the U.S. Fish as well as Wildlife Service.

patrick_devers@fws. gov (301) 497-5549. Administratively, the Mississippi Flyway is made up of the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and also Wisconsin, and also the Canadian districts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Mississippi Flyway. The Mississippi Flyway Council was arranged in 1952 and also includes agents (normally firm administrators) from these state agencies (and often rural reps from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and also Ontario) that have management obligations for migratory birds sources in the Flyway.

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In addition, the Council gives a point of contact for the Fish as well as Wild Animals Solution for the objective of coordinating federal/state/provincial monitoring activities, giving guidance to the Solution on long-lasting and also short-term migratory bird monitoring requirements of the flyway – including the establishment of harvest policies so that the welfare of these sources can be properly protected.