A Race between Moths and Songbirds


Researchers, armed with specially designed radars, have tracked down the speeds of moths and songbirds. Surprisingly both moths and songbirds clock 30-65 km per hour during their night-time spring and autumn migrations.

birds migrating sky

Songbirds and moths not only travel at the same speed they are also heading in the same direction, veering north in the spring and south in the autumn. So what allows moths to keep up? The trick is that moths only fly when the tailwinds are the best so they get lots of help from the wind to reach top speeds. Songbirds on the other hand aren’t so selective they end up flying in all kinds of wind patterns which can slow them down.


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