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3 bizarre (and delightful) ancient theories about bird migration - Lucy Cooke

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In 1822, Count von Bothmer shot down a stork in Germany. However, the bird had already been impaled by a yard-long wooden spear. The stork had been speared in Africa and then flew over 2,500 km. This astonishing flight proved to be an essential clue in a mystery that had plagued scientists for centuries: the seasonal disappearance of birds. Lucy Cooke digs into the discovery of bird migration.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Lucy Cooke
  • Director Mateus Moretto
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Mateus Moretto
  • Animator Luciano do Amaral, Mateus Moretto
  • Art Director Luciano do Amaral, Mateus Moretto
  • Sound Designer Bamm Bamm Wolfgang
  • Music Gavin Dodds, Bamm Bamm Wolfgang
  • Special Thanks Will Gourley
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Birds migration is only one of the phenomenon observed in Lucy Cooke's The Truth About Animals. Check out her book to learn more about wildlife observations, including the century old mystery of Eel Sex. 

No lesson about birds would be complete without a link to Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This site is like the CIA World Factbook, except it’s strictly about birds, and has nests full of pages about Migration to check out.

One of the early theories about Migration was about transmutation. Have you ever heard of birding? How about birdwatching?

Regardless of your intensity level, both are great ways for someone to get involved and observe birds wherever they live and to share the experiences and findings with others. The Audubon Society is an incredible source of information for beginner to expert birders and birdwatchers.

Birds may make some of the longest migrations, but there are many other animals that make similarly arduous journeys. National Geographic has created a resource that describes some of the most impressive migrations on the planet.  After all, he was the owner of the world’s first bird observatory and a huge proponent of the study of birds.

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Lucy Cooke
  • Director Mateus Moretto
  • Narrator Addison Anderson
  • Storyboard Artist Mateus Moretto
  • Animator Luciano do Amaral, Mateus Moretto
  • Art Director Luciano do Amaral, Mateus Moretto
  • Sound Designer Bamm Bamm Wolfgang
  • Music Gavin Dodds, Bamm Bamm Wolfgang
  • Special Thanks Will Gourley
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-Checker Eden Girma
  • See more