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Word of the Week: Cosmognosis

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Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each week to amp up your nature vocabulary!

The word of the week is cosmognosis [KOZ-MAWG-NOW-SUHS] (noun): the knowledge or instinct that tells an animal when it’s time to migrate.

The reasons behind this special biological instinct and in animals, particularly migratory birds, is complex. A related word, to describe the behavioural change that causes birds to display a sense of migratory restlessness, is zugunruhe.

Toronto is a hotspot for birds to migrate through in the fall and spring, and High Park is an especially popular stopover point. Birds like the Dark-eyed Junco fly down south and make High Park their winter home! As we head into spring, keep your eyes and ears open as birds start heading back to High Park from their winter migration journey, like warblers, thrushes, hummingbirds, and more!

While cosmognosis is a relatively obsolete word these days, you could always use it to describe your own instincts when you decide to spend more time outside once spring arrives!