America’s Most Amazing Wildlife Migrations

Summer is often a season bustling with travel. We go to relax, visit friends, experience new sights or relish the familiar. When wildlife travel, however, it’s typically a matter of survival. These species embark on incredible journeys each year, to and from their seasonal homes.

Journey on Land: Pronghorn Path

Pronghorns make the longest migration of any land mammal in the lower 48 states, and it’s a trek they’ve been making for over 6,000 years. When they stop to fuel up, pronghorn (herbivores) go for forbs and nutritious shrubs (like sagebrush). Protecting sagebrush habitat is one critical way to ensure the survival of these populations.

Phronghorn. Photo by Mark Gocke, USDA.
Phronghorn. Photo by Mark Gocke, USDA.

Journey through the Sea: Manatee Trail

I certainly don’t look at manatees and think, now there’s a mover. They don’t rush their short migration. In fact, “manatees may even be nature’s most laid-back migrators,” says author Joanne O’Sullivan. Their journey (seeking warmer water) may not quick, but it’s critical to their survival.

Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Photo by U.S. FWS.
Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Photo by U.S. FWS.

Journey in the Sky: Monarch Flyway

Monarchs can travel up to 50 miles per day on their journey! These butterflies conserve energy by gliding along, riding air currents. Late-blooming native plants can provide fuel for monarchs during their migration. North American populations have declined over 90% over the past few decades, we need to work together to save this incredible species!

Monarchs on Goldenrod
Monarch butterflies in New Jersey donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Nicole Hamilton.

A Book of Journeys: Migration Nation

Why stop at these three magnificent migration stories? Read about these and many other migrating wildlife species in the book Migration Nation: Animals on the Go from Coast to Coast available now.