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Scientific Discussions

Migration Alert, Upper Texas Coast: trans-Gulf migration arrival with strong storms on 28 April 2020

As of approximately 3pm Central Daylight Time, some intense thunderstorms are about to interact with an inbound trans-Gulf migration event.


Migration Update: Morning flight madness in Southern California, 22-26 April 2020

An exciting migration event unfolded yesterday morning and this morning in Southern California, as many thousands of birds continued their nocturnal movements well into the first hours of day light.


Note: new color scale for BirdCast Live Migration Maps

As of 20 April 2020 the BirdCast live migration maps switched color palettes to match migration forecast maps. The new color palette is more suitable for viewers with green-, red-, or blue-color blindness, and is perceptually uniform in color and black-and-white (see this interesting talk by the designers of this so-called “viridis” color scale).


Migration Update: Action in the West, 13-20 April 2020

This update focuses on the migration activity in the West where several nights of significant movements were apparent recently.


Migration Update: Gulf of Mexico region, 18-20 April 2020

A brief migration update – another frontal boundary has started to move into the Gulf of Mexico region , and there are a number of interesting events to share this evening with its passage.


Note: new color scale for migration intensity on BirdCast forecast maps

We updated the color scheme of migration forecast maps on 13 April 2020 to add more contrast to the palette that makes visually impaired viewing easier.


Migration Alert – Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic seaboard, 10-14 April

A frontal boundary is approaching the Gulf of Mexico region, likely moving over water late on Thursday evening. Fallouts and concentrations of migrating birds are likely along the Gulf of Mexico coast for several days.


Species on the Move: mid-April

Spring migration is now in full effect in many areas, with the beginnings of some peak windows of passage approaching for the southern latitudes of the US in the coming two weeks! Light to medium intensity movements will occur in the eastern and southern US.


Some species on the move: Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, and Northern Pintail

Many species are on the move as we officially cross the vernal equinox threshold into the realm of Northern Hemisphere spring.


Species on the move, Spring 2020: mid-March

Spring migration is well underway for a number of species, and the tables below highlight species you can expect in your regions over the coming week!


Species on the move: Killdeer

BirdCast returns with some species on the move discussions for spring 2020! Killdeer is a familiar and hardy shorebird with a generally high tolerance for human habitation and landscapes, and the earliest migrants of this species have been on the move in recent weeks.


Spring migration 2020: Key West migration goes viral (and this is just the beginning!)

A tweet from the National Weather Service in Key West showing bird migration over the Florida Keys went viral, spread and has now been covered extensively by social and news media outlets. Team BirdCast adds some comments and color!


Migration Science: Phenology of nocturnal avian migration has shifted at the continental scale

Team BirdCast has been analyzing radar data with our group of talented collaborators, and today we published a new study on shifting patterns of nocturnal bird migration and how dynamic these patterns can be spatially.


Migration Science: one in every four birds gone in the US and Canada

A study published today in the journal Science reveals that the volume of spring migration, as measured by the NEXRAD radar network in the night skies, has dropped by 14 percent in the past decade. The paper further compiles bird survey data collected on the ground, indicating that bird populations in the United States and Canada have declined by 29 percent since 1970, representing a loss of almost 3 billion birds. 


Monitoring at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum Tribute in Light, 2019

Members of the BirdCast team will be at the Tribute in Light with New York City Audubon volunteers to monitor bird appearing in the intense beams of light this evening and collect additional data to study the effects of these intense lights on bird migration.


Interactive Map: the passage of Hurricane Dorian

Hurricanes and their impacts, in particular in depositing seabirds far afield from their normal haunts, represent unique opportunities to understand how animals behave in and respond to serious disturbances. Check out live sightings of species that may by associated with the passage of Dorian this week.


Migration alert: Nocturnal migration around Hurricane Dorian

BirdCast tracks with great interest the movements of hurricanes and the pelagic species that they often entrain and displace on shore and at times far inland. The team is also interested in bird migration around hurricanes, and with the arrival and passage of Hurricane Dorian off the coast of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, we can see how some birds handle the circulation of an intense cyclonic storm.


BirdCast’s Fall 2019 Campaign Begins

Welcome to fall migration season 2019 for BirdCast! Our 3-day forecast maps have returned, and our migration maps are live, so you can check predictions for and monitor nightly migration intensity through the fall season. Please visit us often!


MistNet: Measuring historical bird migration in the US using archived weather radar data and convolutional neural networks

Welcome MistNet, a deep convolutional neural network to discriminate precipitation from biology in radar scans! MistNet is a tool that can enable large‐scale, long‐term, and reproducible measurements of whole migration systems, a hallmark of developments by our collaborators at University of Massachusetts and the BirdCast team. Read on to find out more about today’s paper published describing this exciting new tool.


A primer for using weather surveillance radar to study bird migration

As a reminder to what the team is working on here at BirdCast, we return to a post we wrote last year. With spring upon us and migration in full swing, here is a primer on what we do. We turn weather radar data into information on the numbers and flight directions of birds aloft in order to expand the understanding of migratory bird movement. After several years (and hundreds of posts) describing migration, species on the move, and unique migration events, we want you to have a better understanding of what happens at BirdCast. Here is a brief overview and a behind-the-scenes look at the ways we apply radar data to study bird migration.


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