In a land that's mostly tamed by the presence of man, we can still find natural wonders like these epic animal migrations.
Insulated by our climate controlled homes, our digital lives, and high tech gadgets, we can sometimes get distracted from the beauty and magnificence of the natural wonders that surround us. Lucky is the man who finds peace in the simplicity of a sunset brilliant in its splendor, or in the quietness of the woods as a December snowstorm powders the land with pure white flakes.
If marvels of the world still enchant you, check out these ten stunning animal migrations.
1. Arctic Tern
From Greenland to the Antarctic and back; every year. The diminutive arctic tern is the colossus of all animals when it comes to migrations. Within its lifetime, it will travel far enough to fly from the earth to the moon, three times over.
2. Snow Geese
Considering the sheer numbers of birds in the sky, the snow goose migration is something worth seeing. Wildlife specialists estimate the snow goose population at between 15 and 25 million. If you've never been humbled by deafening flocks of the white birds, put the trip on your bucket list.
At number three of great animal migrations are the wildebeests. Due to the fact that not only are the legendary herds moving in such large areas, across such timeworn landscape, but along the way a fierce lineup of predators await them at every step of the way. Maybe reminiscent of the old North American bison migrations.
For sheer determination, the salmon lands at number four of great animal migrations. After spending years at sea, the salmon return to the place of their birth fighting swift river currents, grizzly bears, and fortunate fishermen the entire way. Their prize: death after laying the eggs of the next generation. Only one in 1,000 will live to see the breeding grounds as an adult.
Finally a North American mammal makes the list of impressive animal migrations. Each year massive herds of caribou travel the same paths they have traveled for thousands of years from feeding ground to feeding ground. Traveling more than 600 miles, herds of caribou can dominate the tundra as they pass.
6. Red Crabs of Christmas Island
Lovers of Joe's Crab Shack would have a ball at Christmas Island once a year when the ground becomes a carpet of red crabs. Tens of millions of crabs make the ground appear to ripple as they pass by.
7. Sandhills Cranes
View the sandhills cranes in flight and you are witnessing one of the oldest species on the planet. The oldest sandhills crane fossil has been estimated to be 2.5 million years old. The look and sound of these prehistoric birds can take you back in time if you let it.
8. Sea Turtle
In contrast to the reputation turtles have earned from their slow nature, sea turtles can cover the miles. Leathernecks have been documented as traveling 10,000 miles each year on an annual loop from breeding grounds to feeding grounds.
The most talked about and researched American mammal migration has to be the pronghorn. Although small in comparison to other migrators, pronghorns rhythmic wanderings are the largest and farthest of any American mammal.
10. Mule Deer
Rounding out the list of the top 10 animal migrations is the mule deer. One astounding thing about the trek of the mule deer is the fact it so little was known about it for so long. Mule deer often wander by nature, but knowing the extent of their wanderings should give us new respect of these iconic American animals.
Perhaps the realization we have recently learned so much about the behavior of animals and animal migrations will shed some light on the fact we still have much to learn from our animal neighbors on this planet.