Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Heading south as winter approaches, they remain in the warmer southern climes until things warm up back home at which time they return. Geese migrate; robins migrate and so do various other birds – especially one in particular.
That particular bird is the snowbird which migrates from the cold, cloudy, icy, snowy northern states to Florida, typically arriving shortly after Christmas. They remain in Florida through the end of March at which time they head back home. It is the departure of those snowbirds that is the harbinger of spring in Florida.
When they head north to reunite with family and enjoy the coming of summer which arrives around July 4th, we in Florida breathe a sigh of relief that our highways and byways are less crowded with cars, SUVs, RVs and towed trailers. In addition, it is possible to get into a restaurant between 4 PM and 6 PM without having to stand in a long line listening to those New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts accents. It is only our recently arrived permanent residents who still carry those distinct accents. For the rest of us, we speak a fractured mix of northern and southern accents (Florida’s home grown residents, Crackers, are as few and far between and are as rare as the Black-whiskered Vireo).
Unfortunately, the absence of snowbirds last about as long as spring does in Florida. All too soon summer arrives and with it, the temporary southern migration of the Northern Parental Beach birds and the Northern Parental Theme Park birds. Both of these birds mate and conceive in the northern climes but once their offspring reach the temper tantrum age, they head south for a week or two to nest either on the Florida beaches or in the Disneyworld. Their individual arrivals are heralded by the screaming of their offspring – either screams of joy or screams that their parents are failing to properly amuse them.
In addition to the aforementioned birds, Florida is also home to the Left Turn Racer and the Vroom Vroom Biker that arrive while the snowbirds still abound. Both seem to be addicted to loud noise which apparently is outlawed in their natural northern environs. Although they roost here but a matter of weeks, they do as much to disrupt the natural order of things as do the longer-staying snowbirds.
Like all migratory birds, while in Florida these birds have secondary effects on the state and its residents. They are willing to empty their nest eggs from banks, IRAs and mattresses and transfer those precious nest eggs to the banks, IRAs and mattresses of local businesses – that is good. In recognition of this, the businesses raise their rates making their services unaffordable to local residents – that is bad. The former effect also deludes the state and local governments into thinking they are richer than they are and consequently spend twice as much as they might otherwise would have. This is called the pigeon dropping effect.
So it is that each year, the laws of nature must be obeyed by geese, robins, snowbirds and the like. And so it is that the cycle continues unbroken, proving that a bird in Florida is worth two in New York, or twi in New Jersey, or two in Pennsylvania, or two in Connecticut, or two in…