Great Migrations Reading Ielts Answers and Questions

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  • IELTS Reading Note Completion
  • IELTS Reading Locating Information
  • IELTS Reading Short Answer question 

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IELTS reading passage –  Great Migrations

Great Migrations

  • Animal migration is far more than just the movement of animals. It can be vaguely described as movement that occurs at regular intervals mostly annually – that includes many species of animals, and is rewarded only at the end of the long journey. It shows inherited instinct. Hugh Dingle, a biologist recognised 5 features that apply, in varying combinations and degrees, to all migrations. They are prolonged movements that bring animals outside their familiar habitats. The route is linear, and not zigzaggy. It involves special behaviours like preparation such as overfeeding and arrival. Animals need to specially allocate energy for the migration. They maintain an intense focus on the greater mission, which keeps them undistracted by temptations and undeterred by challenges that would turn other animals aside.
  • On its 20,000 km flight from the extreme south of South America to the Arctic circle, an arctic tern will take no notice of a fish that a bird-watcher gives along the way. The tern flies on while local gulls will dive voraciously for such handouts.
  • Why? By an instinctive sense the arctic tern resists distraction because it is driven by a larger purpose at that moment – something we humans admire. It is persistent to reach its destination. The bird understands that it can eat, rest or mate later on. During the process, it is completely focused on the journey; its goal is the destination. 
  • The larger purpose will be served reaching some coastline in the Arctic, upon which other arctic terns have gathered. It will find a place, a time, and an environment in which it can lay eggs and rear offspring. 
  • But migration is a complex problem, and biologists view it differently, depending on what type of animals they study. Joel Berger from University of Montana, researching on the American pronghorn and some large terrestrial mammals, prefers what he calls a simple, practical definition suited to his beasts: ‘movements to a home area from another area and back again’. Mostly the reason for such seasonal migration is to seek resources that aren’t available within a single area throughout the year. 
  • Vertical movements by zooplankton daily in the ocean – upward movement to seek food at night and downward movement to escape predators during the day – can also be considered migration. Also the movement of aphids after depleting the young leaves on a food plant, their offspring then fly towards a different host plant, and no aphid ever returns to where it started. 
  • Dingle is an evolutionary biologist who researches insects. His interpretation is more complicated than Berger’s, citing those 5 features that differentiate migration from other forms of movement. They allow for the fact that aphids will become sensitive to blue light from the sky when it’s time for takeoff on their big journey, and sensitive to yellow light while it is time to land. 
  • Birds will feed heavily in advance of a long migrational flight to fatten themselves. Dingle argues the value of his definition is that it focuses attention on what the phenomenon of wildebeest migration has in common with the phenomenon of the aphids, and therefore helps guide researchers towards understanding how evolution has created them. However, human behaviour is having a detrimental impact on animal migration.
  • The pronghorn resembles an antelope even though they aren’t related, and is the fastest land mammal of the New World. One population follows a narrow route from its summer range in the mountains, across a river, and down onto the plains which spends the summer in the mountainous Grand Teton National Park of the western USA. They wait out the frozen months here, mainly feeding on sagebrush clear of snow. These pronghorns are notable for the severity of its constriction and invariance of their migration route at 3 bottlenecks. They can’t reach their bounty of summer grazing, if they can’t pass through each of the 3 during their spring migration. They are likely to die trying to overwinter in the deep snow if they dont pass through again in autumn, escaping south onto those windblown plains, 
  • Pronghorn traverse high, open shoulders of land, where they can see and run. They are dependent on speed and distance vision to be safe from attacks. Forested hills rise to form a V, at one of the bottlenecks, leaving a corridor of open ground only about 150m wide, filled with private homes. Increasing development is creating a crisis for the pronghorn, threatening to block off their passageway.
  • Biologists, along with some conservation scientists and land managers within the USA’s National Park Service and other agencies, are now working to conserve migrational behaviours, not just species and habitats. A National Forest has identified the path of the pronghorn, much of which passes across its land, as a preserved migration path. On private land at a bottleneck neither the Forest Service nor the Park Service can control what happens. And with some other migrating species, the challenge is further complex – by vastly greater distances traversed, more jurisdictions, more borders, more dangers along the way. We will need knowledge and determination to make sure that migrating species can continue their journey a while longer. 

Great Migrations IELTS reading questions

Questions 1-4

Complete the notes below. Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/ OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

  • Migration involves special behaviours concerning preparation such as 1. ________ and arrival.
  • Zooplanktons move 2. ______ in the ocean
  • Dingle’s observation is more complicated than 3. ________.
  • A  4. ________ has identified the path of the pronghorn.

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Questions 5-10

This reading passage has eight paragraphs, A–K.W
hich paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter, A – K, as your answer to each question.

5. The tern flies on while local gulls will dive voraciously for such handouts.
6. After depleting the young leaves on a food plant, offspring of aphids fly towards a different host plant.
7. Dingle is an evolutionary biologist who researches insects. 
8. Birds flatten themselves by feeding heavily in advance of a long migrational flight. 
9. Forested hills rise to form a V, at one of the bottlenecks, leaving a corridor of open ground only about 150m wide, filled with private homes.
10. The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal of the New World.

Questions 11-14

Answer the questions below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

11. Who identified the 5 features of animal migration?
12. Which bird travels from South America to the Arctic circle every year?
13. Who did the research on the American pronghorn?
14. How do zooplanktons find food?

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Great Migrations IELTS reading answers

1. Overfeeding 
2. Vertically 
3. Berger’s 
4. National Forest 
5. Paragraph B 
6. Paragraph F
7. Paragraph G 
8. Paragraph H 
9. Paragraph J 
10. Paragraph I 
11. Hugh Dingle
12. arctic tern 
13. Joel Berger 
14. upward movement


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