The tree swallow's scientific name, Tachycineta bicolor, means "swift-moving two-colored bird." You'll hear its cheerful twitters in California, Colorado, Nebraska, and Maryland, among other places.
They winter from Mexico's Atlantic coast to Belize in great numbers. They are occasionally found in other parts of Mexico and Central America as far south as Costa Rica. On rare occasion, they'll be glimpsed in Panama. Birdwatchers also spot them regularly on South America's Caribbean shores.
Many of the songbirds we enjoy in our yards every summer spend their winters in the rain forests of Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Each spring, millions of these tiny birds return to
Threats to migrating birds
The National Humane Society reports that migrating flocks have declined by nearly 50 percent since the 1960's. It is believed that changes made to our natural landscapes, such as clearing and fragmenting forests and draining wetlands and clearing rain forests for sun-grown coffee in wintering locations have contributed greatly to this trend.
The National Wildlife Federation reports that over the past 20 years, a portion of our migratory birds have shifted their migration times and patterns, often leaving early for their northern homes and migrating to areas that they have not traditionally frequented. They attribute this to the climate change known as global warming.
So what can I do?