BirdCast now shows real-time bird migration at the county level

BirdCast now shows real-time bird migration at the county level

As of spring 2018, the BirdCast website, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Colorado State University and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, offers live bird migration forecasts and maps that show with elegance the movements of migratory birds across North America. Daily site updates during migration times have helped birders understand when and where to expect birds the next morning.

Effective today, April 20, 2022, the BirdCast team has unveiled their new Migration Dashboard. The dashboard reveals bird migration in localized detail previously inaccessible to the public.

“With this new Migration Dashboard, you get facts and figures about what’s happening in the skies above you at the county near real-time level,” said Andrew Farnsworth, Principal Investigator at BirdCast. “In recent years, we have been able to visualize and predict the movements of migrating birds on a continental scale, thanks to weather surveillance radars. It’s been fascinating, but now you can also get an idea of ​​what’s going on in your own corner of the country. We want to raise people’s abilities to understand bird migration, to talk about migration. There is enormous learning potential here. We are far from knowing all the models that you will be able to explore when you look at this tool. It’s very exciting!”

BirdCastThis is an example of the live view of the new BirdCast dashboard. Image courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The dashboard shows how many birds are estimated to have flown over a particular county in the lower 48 states on a given night during migration, updated in near real time. It shows how many birds are currently in the air, how fast they are going, what direction they are heading, how high they are flying, and how the ebb and flow of their movements overnight compares to historical patterns. If you’re not a night owl, you can catch up on the previous night’s action the next day. The dashboard does all of this by using weather surveillance radar to measure the density of a mass of birds. This measurement is then transformed into an estimate of the numbers.

“One of the most compelling aspects of the new dashboard is that it focuses on a phenomenon that occurs largely out of sight and most likely when we sleep,” said Audrey Carlsen, who led the design. and the development of the dashboard for the Cornell laboratory. “Massive amounts of living creatures are flying through the night sky. It’s our best tool right now to try to understand migration.

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The dashboard puts a face to migration – feathered faces – by offering a list of species likely to pass overhead at your current time and place. Knowing who, where and when migration can lead directly to action. What are the best nights to turn off lights to avoid attracting birds and risking collisions with buildings? Where is the best location to build wind turbines to avoid killing birds? The information can be used by a wide range of people, from conservationists and biologists to birdwatchers and nature lovers.

“I can’t wait to see the effect the BirdCast Migration Dashboard will have when people can see detailed migration information for their own county,” said Ian Owens, Executive Director of Cornell Lab. “I can’t think of a better catalyst for people to find ways to protect these species and habitats.”

Register for a free webinar on running the BirdCast Migration Dashboard Today 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.