What Cooper and co-author Peter Marra found, though, wasn’t as simple as one big round trip. Once the birds arrived in Michigan, many of them started making long trips to different spots within the breeding area. The trips ranged anywhere from three to 48 miles, and most of the traveling birds were those that weren’t breeding that season. What could they be up to?
Ornithologists have a word for the birds that bop around a bit during breeding season. These birds are called “floaters,” and experts knew that these birds moved around the space of particular breeding sites. But the behavior of these birds isn’t easy to track.
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