Birds and Radar Primer

Welcome to Badbirdz-Reloaded. This site is one of two radar-migration sites, the other being www.woodcreeper.com which covers New Jersey. Woodcreeper.com was started in 2004, and was heavily influenced by the late Noel Wamer’s website http://www.badbirdz.com. Both Badbirdz-Reloaded and Woodcreeper.com follow a similar format, which we have outlined below. We have also included several links to various web pages with a wealth of information regarding how to read the radar, the inner workings of the radar, as well as links to the local weather conditions and weather forecasts for Florida. If you take some time to read through this page and the pages referred to within the text you will be much more prepared for interpreting the radar in the daily posts.

From March to May and from August to October on Badbirdz-Reloaded, you will find daily posts regarding bird migration over Florida. Ideally, each morning we will post radar loops from the previous night, along with our interpretation of the radar and what it might mean for local birding conditions. As time allows, we will also forecast birding conditions for the state of Florida using local weather data.

Our goal for this website is to provide an interactive forum where we post the radar data and you provide your field observations so that we both can better understand the relationship between the weather, radar, and birds on the ground. Most birdwatchers are also amateur meteorologists, constantly watching the forecast for a sign of favorable weather. We urge you to move beyond the spectator, and become a regular voice on Badbirdz-Reloaded. Use the comments section of our posts as a place to add your sightings, weather observations, birding predictions, or anything else regarding migration. If the only thing that gets posted to the site are our predictions, then the site has very little value. If, on the other hand, you provide feedback on the accuracy of our predictions and analysis, then the site can serve as a reference document which will help refine future predictions and make us all more knowledgeable birders.

For beginners

If you haven’t ever used this site, or if you’re unfamiliar with the use of Doppler radar to monitor nocturnal bird migration, please check out the links we have listed under Migration Tools on the sidebar (currently on the left-hand side). For an overview of the radar system itself, the National Weather Service has recently updated their “radar frequently asked questions” site called JETSTREAM. From here you can get all the information you desire regarding the Doppler radar system. For birds and radar, check out the New Jersey Audubon site Why NEXRAD and Birds?. At some point during the season you’ll read the term anomalous propagation, and wonder why the heck we are talking about it. In most cases we are referring to the effects of the temperature inversion which occurs after sunset and which may cause false signals on the radar. We have added a link to an article that describes the science behind it. It’s in pdf format, so you’ll need Adobe Reader to open it.

Get Adobe Reader

For Everyone

All the sites we use to gather weather information are also listed as links under Migration Tools. To download the nightly imagery we use a custom script written by Michael Mills. If you’re interested in setting up a similar website for a different area, please let us know and we can provide you with the script information. There will be some times when we just can’t get the radar posted before you head out into the field, especially for you early birds. In your cases you might want to use this site more as a portal to the real-time radar before you head out in the morning, and as a place to add comments after a day in the field.

Feedback feedback feedback

Please let us know what you think of the site by sending us an email to badbirdz2@hotmail.com. We would love to hear from you and find out how your using the information provided on Badbirdz-Reloaded.

Good Migration,

Angel and Mariel Abreu & David LaPuma

Responses

  1. Very kewl site, David.

    I’m not just a meteorologist… but I play one on tv. And… the Ozark Audubon society asked me to come talk radar & birds on Tuesday.

    If you don’t mind… I’ll send up your site as a place to go and try their hand at radar interp as it applies to flying creatures.

    Well done, sir.

    Dave Snider
    Meteorologist KY3
    Springfield, MO

  2. Saw a film which showed birds showing up on radar and it showed hundereds of birds migrating in one night

  3. Love the site! Thanks for providing this information. Had hear there was some activity this weekend so I went to Anne Kolb Pard where a year aro this date I was photographing several varieties of warblers. Today Other then the normal Wading birds I saw several Vireos. Still puzzling over which ones they are.

  4. [...] This blog includes a primer on using weather radar to track bird migration. [...]

  5. [...] Badbirdz – Reloaded blog also includes a primer on using weather radar to track bird migration. [...]

  6. [...] more about using weather radar to track bird movements: The Badbirdz – Reloaded blog includes a primer on using weather radar to track bird migration. For more explanations of birds and radar, try the New Jersey Audubon website. Possibly related [...]


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