Friday, March 23, 2012

Migration and Radar

We continue to check around the boardwalk at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest to see what new bird species may have arrived overnight.  eBird offers a BirdCast based on birding observations and radar images showing migration activity.  They predict that between March 16-22, the Southeast should expect to see the following birds species:  Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, and Yellow-crowned Night Heron.  We heard a Yellow-throated Vireo today, so all that we're missing is the Prothonotary Warbler!

Understanding Radar and Birds: Part 1

March 16, 2012
Understanding Radar and Birds: Part 1 Nexrad radar mosaic, 8 May 2009
Since the first units were placed along the Gulf Coast in the 1950s, ornithologists and birders have become increasingly aware of the power of using radar as a tool for understanding bird migration. In addition to detecting and depicting meteorological phenomena, this radar network can be used to watch and to track the movements of birds. In this feature we will provide some basics for how to interpret radar data, in particular how to understand the movements of birds on Weather Surveillance Radar – 1988D (WSR-88D). A second installment will discuss challenges in identifying biological targets and some locally interesting patterns visible on radar.  Read more...

To help visualize and better understand how you can use radar to examine migration, watch the animation below of Nexrad Radar of a flight on 8 - 9 May 2009. Watching this animation will allow you to see differences between precipitation and migrating birds.

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