August and September are bird migration months, and we are sad to see them go. Most of our hawks leave us mid-September when wind conditions are right, as do our hummingbirds, warblers and many others. Sometimes we wish that we could follow along as they make the journey, and now we can.
In 2013, Judy Shamoun-Baranes, a Dutch ecologist at the University of Amsterdam developed a radar tool which makes it possible to visualize bird migrations. Her team developed a visualization program in Europe and also one in the United States. Many birds migrate at night so they are very difficult to track without radar. Shamoun-Baranes used data from thirteen weather radars in the Northeast during the fall of 2010. Blue streaks show the movements of many birds together. The tools show direction, altitude, speed and the different routes birds chose on different days. Depending on weather and winds, birds may choose a southwestern route or an eastern route out over the Atlantic Ocean. read more….