Migration – that big annual event where some animals ‘pack up and ship out’ when the season starts to turn and better pastures are to be found elsewhere. Although we may not really understand how bird migration routes work, we do know that they seem to be ‘pre-programmed’ – individuals don’t typically veer off of the designated route (although some individuals might get blown off course and a bit turned around).
That being said, long-term observation of Richard’s pipits has revealed that (at least some of them) have exchanged their usual north-south migration route in and out of Russia for an east-west alternative. Although we might not be 100% sure what caused these individuals to recalculate their routes, it does open the door for some more questioning with regards to the flexibility and ‘reprogrammability’ of these long-standing migration routes.
You can read the research article at the link below: