BirdCast: You Can Now Forecast the Migration of Birds Across the U.S. Just Like the Weather




We talk about the weather more often than we talk about most things, other natural phenomena included. We certainly talk about the weather more often than we talk about birds, much to the disappointment of ornithological enthusiasts. This could be down to the comparative robustness of weather prediction, both as a tradition and as a daily technological presence in our lives. We can hardly avoid seeing the weather forecast, but when was the last time you checked the bird forecast? Such a thing does, in fact, exist, though it’s only come into existence recently, in the form of Birdcast, which provides “real-time predictions of bird migrations: when they migrate, where they migrate, and how far they will be flying.”

Developed by Colorado State University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdCast offers both live bird migration maps and bird forecast migration maps for the United States. “These forecasts come from models trained on the last 23 years of bird movements in the atmosphere as detected by the US NEXRAD weather surveillance radar network,” says BirdCast’s web site.




Unprecedented in both the kind of information they provide and the detail in which they provide it, “these bird migration maps represented the culmination of a 20-year long vision, so too the beginnings of new inspiration for the next generation of bird migration research, outreach and education, and application.”

You can learn more about the development and workings of BirdCast in the recorded webinar below, featuring research associate Adriaan Dokter and Julia Wang, leader of the Lights Out project, which aims to get Americans spending more time in just such a state. “Every spring and fall, billions of birds migrate through the US, mostly under the cover of darkness,” says its section of BirdCast’s site. “This mass movement of birds must contend with a dramatically increasing but still largely unrecognized threat: light pollution.” The goal is “turning off unnecessary lighting during critical migration periods,” and with spring having begun last weekend, we now find ourselves in just such a period. Luckily, our fine feathered friends shouldn’t be disturbed by the glow of the BirdCast map on your screen. View live BirdCast maps here.

via Kottke

Related Content:

Explore an Interactive Version of The Wall of Birds, a 2,500 Square-Foot Mural That Documents the Evolution of Birds Over 375 Million Years

What Kind of Bird Is That?: A Free App From Cornell Will Give You the Answer

Cornell Launches Archive of 150,000 Bird Calls and Animal Sounds, with Recordings Going Back to 1929

Watch “The “Art of Flying,” a Short Film Capturing the Wondrous Murmurations of the Common Starling

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s mission, please consider making a donation. We accept Paypal, Venmo, Patreon, even Crypto! To donate, click here. We thank you!






Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Daniel says:

    In the course of one human lifetime three Billion birds have disappeared from north american and canada.
    Over a quarter of all birds.
    This has been echoed by insects, and many other species of animals
    This is the mass extinction event unfolding.

  • Daniel says:

    In less than a single human lifetime, since 1970, 3 billion breeding adult birds have been lost from the United States and Canada, over a quarter of all birds across every ecosystem, losses echoed by insects and other animals. This is the mass extinction event unfolding.

Leave a Reply

Quantcast
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.