Stopover Habitat

Wildlife migration, the periodic seasonal movement of birds or other animals from one geographic region to another, is usually related to available food supplies or breeding season. In our region, the only pollinating bird species is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which migrates each spring from as far south as Panama to as far north as Canada, with a return trip south in the fall. During the long flight, they stop frequently to rest and refuel before continuing on their way. Urban parks, natural areas, and even gardens are critical stopover habitats for the migrating birds.  

Stopover habitat is also important for migrating butterflies such as Monarchs and Painted Ladies. New York City is located along the Atlantic Flyway, a major transit route for thousands of birds and butterflies in the fall and spring.

Management Tips

  • Make sure your landscape includes nectar plants to fuel migrants’ spring and autumn journeys. The last stragglers fly south from their breeding grounds in northern latitudes until as late as November, so be sure to grow plenty of late-blooming species such as asters and goldenrods.
  • Participate in the Monarch Waystation Program to provide stopover habitat for the butterfly’s epic seasonal journeys. An easy way to establish a new Monarch Waystation is to order a Monarch Waystation Seed Kit developed by Monarch Watch. Each kit includes nine seed packs, including milkweeds and other nectar plants.