. . . “Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from that day . . .”
. . . “So, little snowbird, take me when you go
To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful water flows . . .”
The term snowbird might have already been in use prior to Anne Murray’s popular song “Snowbird” but, its use in the song by this Canadian singer would serve to explain the term further as people from the northern climes travelled southward during the cold winter months. This seasonal migration dates back as far as the Colonial times “when Bostonians would often go (by sea) to Charleston or Savannah for winter.”
So, where do the snowbirds come from, and where do they go? They come from the Northeast, the Midwest and Canada, for the most part. They go to Florida, California, Texas, the Carolinas, and anywhere along the sun belt regions of the southern and southwest areas of the U.S. as well as Mexico, plus the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand are all popular destinations.
Snowbirds are typically retirees and people whose income allows them to maintain two homes, with one being located in warmer climates during the winter time. Many of these migratory people are also RVers, and travel in their recreational vehicle, which also serves as their home-away-from-home, but many more rely on hotels and motels along the way. The migration of snowbirds is also considered a tourism boost for many cities that provide that mid-way point, and final destination.
Affordability, convenience, multiple attractions and accessibility to shopping and medical facilities are key factors when snowbirds settle upon their final destinations. Cities like Daytona Beach and Lake City, Florida, Gulfport and Biloxi, Mississippi; Palm Desert and San Diego, California, and Yuma, Arizona are but a few popular areas that snowbirds flock to.
Although the economy over the past few years has been a factor with fewer snowbirds heading southward, predications for 2011 are optimistic for a rebound, with Pensacola, Florida being named as a primary destination.