Below is a snapshot of the national map with radar and weather fronts. Use this map to get an overall feel of migration and how weather affects nocturnal migration.
A cold front parade is indeed underway, swinging through a town near you! Birds are riding on the fronts as they parade south through the state. Get out to your migrant traps and see if you catch the parade of migrants. Birds have been on the move with the series of cold fronts that are heading south. Today we can see from the image above that not one, not two, but three cold fronts are lined up. Along with these fronts, upper level winds are strong and jet stream levels are just crazy. Clear skies behind fronts translate to birds on the wing. A weather pattern as such is conducive with depositing western vagrants here in Florida. Birds that are migrating south over the Mid-West could get caught up in the strong jet stream and drift eastward into the state. This happens almost annually, it’s all in the winds.
Be on the lookout for counterpart species that we see every winter, Green-tailed Towhee in contrast to Eastern Towhee or a Western Meadowlark instead of an Eastern Meadowlark shoot while we are at it a Varied Thrush rather than a Hermit Thrush. You catch our drift! Three fronts pushing birds south, this scenario is looking like it will clear us of neotropical migrants less the ones that decided to winter in extreme South FL.
Below is an image that shows wind speeds and direction at 3,000ft. You can see that swift cold winds are running south over the Mid-West and into the Southeast. This could indeed put birds out over the Gulf of Mexico when it was not their intention. At this point a bird that overshoots the coast and is wishing to winter in North America will head east or west searching for landfall. This is where we get lucky in FL, we have a 50/50 chance that these birds will end up in the state. Get at it folks, find these rarities :)
Enjoy the tail-end of neotropical migrant movement and welcome our wintering birds. Soon your will have shifted focus and you will be searching grasses and beaches rather than oaks and mahoganies for birds. Enjoy the drier weather that will invade our atmosphere over the next few days, it’s going to feel like winter soon. Well at least a FL winter….
Our computer is still down and we were unable to download and post the radar as usual so we are doing the second best thing. Below is a list of links to radar loops from 2am-6am.
The regional radar is in reflectivity mode which is best used to quantify birds and to get a picture of where they are moving from. The rest of the radar links are velocity radars, these are best used to determine speed and direction of travel. With these images you are looking at light blue-dark blue returns (incoming birds) and yellow-orange (outgoing birds). The grayish line between the two colors is the line of axis, this line will give you an idea of which direction birds are entering the radar from and which direction they are flying as they exit radar range.
As always Badbirdz depends on its readers to help us understand the magic of bird migration. We ask our readers to take a minute to email us at email@example.com, post a comment on the site or share what you are seeing on our Facebook page. As a whole the Florida birding community is large and enthusiastic about bird migration, lets join together this year to make Badbirdz an integral part of every birders toolbox. Together we can track and monitor birds and learn more about this phenomenon called MIGRATION!
Nature is Awesome
Angel & Mariel