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There’s more to home than just home

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, April 11th, 2006 at 11:22 am in Fish, Home, wild birds, Wildlife.

I was out driving around with my wife, Lois, last weekend when our conversation for some reason turned to salmon. This is a fish species that hatches in a stream, then swims down the stream and into the ocean where it spends up to 8 years swimming around for maybe thousands of miles before eventually returning to its home in the exact stream where it was originally hatched, to spawn and raise a new family.

Lois expressed her amazement that a little fish can spend all that time swimming around in the big ocean and then somehow manage to find it’s way home to the tiny stream where it had hatched from eggs.

That caused me to think about the tiny songbirds that visit the bird feeders in our backyards. Some of these birds will fly thousands of miles down to South America to winter at the same spot every year in South American jungles, then turn around at springtime and fly back to your house in time to peck on your kitchen window and complain about the empty bird feeder in your yard.

That’s pretty amazing, too. Think about it. No road maps. No country back roads or super highways. No highway patrol officers to give them instructions to the next off-ramp. Do the birds use the earth’s magnetic field like a compass? Does the stream water smell "different" to the salmon, stirring childhood memories of the place where it was spawned years before to help guide it back?

As Lois suggested with a little smile and a wry shake of her head, "Maybe there’s more to home than just home."

Speaking of home, if I turn left here, will this road bring us back to our street?

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