Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Migration on Radar

Posted by Kirk
Saturday's Birds and Beers was a ton of fun and there were some great conversations. I spent some time talking with Minnesota Birdnerd about tracking spring migration via radar. We brought up live radar images of Texas on a laptop and you could clearly see that migration was on. In particular, you could see the clear doughnut shape on the radar indicative of flocks of birds taking off at sunset. I wish I had captured the radar loop right then and there to share it because the archived radar data is not available until about a week later. I went into the radar archives this weekend and pulled up the most recent data I could which was for March 5th. It turns out the night of March4-5 was a good night for migration. Check out this animated loop I put together from the data. The loop starts at 1:00 UTC and ends at 17:00 UTC so that corresponds to 7:00 pm on the 4th to noon on the 5th. The doughnut circles start in Texas and then push north.

If you are interested in this sort of thing check this loop of a simply massive migration last April. You can really see what a difference a month makes. We're only seeing the beginning of this.



Minnesota Birdnerd said...

Kirk you are a radar rock star! I really need to have you teach me how to put together loops like that.

Kirk said...

Thanks Roger, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't access the most recent data and the archive was a week behind. Then I realized I was using a different radar image. I'd be happy to teach you some time.