If we didn’t have the knowledge acquired over centuries by ornithologists and naturalists, how would we explain where migratory birds go in the autumn? Here are some theories from antiquity accounting for bird migration.
Birds Fly to the Moon for the Winter
Many birds fly at high altitudes while they migrate—Bar-headed Geese cross the Himalayas at 9,000 metres (29,500 feet)—far out of sight of human observers on the ground. The ascent of migrating birds in the fall, apparently headed into space, probably inspired the belief in the Middle Ages that they went to the moon for the winter.
Birds Changing into Something Else
Atlantic Puffins have brightly coloured bills only in the breeding season; the Piping Plover loses the black on its head and chest in winter; in many species, the male, female and juveniles look quite different from each …