Posted by: badbirdz2 | April 6, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

Forecasting birding in South Florida using radar

Well, today was a learning experience.

The movement of birds was “small” compared to some of the more recent movements out of Cuba this year, yet the effect on the ground was much more pronounced. As Brennan pointed out on the phone today, and I concur, it’s probably not the size that matters, but whether it rains in the Keys (don’t go anywhere else with that statement) that causes migrating birds to be evident on the ground. But that wouldn’t necessarily explain the results from Key Biscayne, which also suggest that even small movements are detectable on the landscape given associated precipitation. It would be good to get a report from an inland site, to see if the abundance at Key Biscayne was also an effect of being blown east by the strong winds. All of us who have birded South Florida during migration can attest to the wonderful birding that can follow a good early morning deluge, so the pattern should come as no surprise. But, understanding the relationship between size and extent of the migration event on the radar and the precipitation is the critical link.

For that, your feedback today was extremely valuable and will definitely help better predict future birding conditions. Please keep the feedback coming regardless of where in Florida you are. I promise I’ll also focus on the rest of the state in future predictions, and you too can use the southeast composite for a “birds eye” view of migration at the regional level.

Good Birding!



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