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Recent entries


Versatile Hunter

Understanding Radar and Bird Migration

Thu, September 01, 2016

I belong to several amateur birding blogs and e-newsletters because I enjoy getting out, whether during hunting or with the kids and doing some amateur birding.  I also like to learn more about bird migration in order to learn more about waterfowl migration prediction for the sake of timing hunts properly.  This is a good basic intro to using radar for such migratory predictions.

Understanding radar in birds, this article on eBird explains how to predict & detect bird migration using radar:

Current National Composite Radar, the blue and sometimes green splotches on the screen that are obviously not weather systems are radar noise creating by migrating birds. Any green area and large, intense blue area that is not a weather system indicates high densities of migrant birds (green would be the highest possible density):

BirdCast. This is eBird’s weekly bird migration forecast for different regions of the US, very helpful for planning out roughly which days to go out birding, but make sure to consult the nightly weather forecast & radar for any last minute condition changes, which happen frequently:

The Weather Channel. Fantastic for the nighttime forecast, especially the wind forecast (S winds are tailwinds so better for turnover in spring; N winds are tailwinds so better for turnover in autumn):

Arrivals and Influxes. This is a birder’s blog and it has the links above plus many other helpful ones listed on the blog’s main page:

As I hope you will predict bird migration yourself, one important thing I must tell you is that no bird forecast (like weather forecasts) will be completely accurate! Many factors, biological and environmental, play into bird migration and one thing to keep in mind is that the mystery of bird migration is part of the fun of it!