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Outdoor Term of the Week: Philopatry [PICS]

Ready to learn something new? Tune in for this week’s Outdoor Term of the Week: philopatry. 

Philopatry is a scientific term for what we see in a lot of animal mating or migration behavior. Philopatric animals return to the same breeding ground each year or, in some cases, the place where they themselves were born, to have their offspring.

SEE ALSO: Outdoor Term of the Week: Cairn

Philopatric animals range from numerous species of birds, to sharks, to monkeys, to turtles. “Philopatry” means “home-loving” in Greek and it describes those animals that make it back to their home area in order to breed or have their young.

The main benefit to returning to an animal’s breeding ground, is lack of territorial competition. Philopatric birds also often return to the same place each year because their nests should still be there. Some species of birds, especially those that nest on the ground like the Australian Malleefowl, build elaborate nests that they return to each year to use.

bird nest
Pine Plains Lodge


We, as humans, have a responsibility to make sure breeding and nesting grounds stay pristine. This is why we must do all we can to not block the migratory paths for many species or disrupt a place where a nest may be. Philopatric animals depend on their home territory. If animals didn’t migrate to breeding grounds or nesting grounds populations could experience a genetic drift and species could eventually die out or never evolve.

SEE ALSO: How Are We Helping the Chicken Cross the Road? Wildlife Bridges [VIDEO]

We hunt many different philopatric animals and to conserve their habitat is key to our sport. Now you know the correct term for those animals that are “home-loving.” You learn something new every day!

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Outdoor Term of the Week: Philopatry [PICS]