Posted by: woodcreeper | September 25, 2007 @ 6:06 am

Floridabirds on the wing


The radar showed birds entering Florida last night, but only small movements downstate.
Here’s the radar from sunset last night through sunrise this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour for reflectivity and velocity, and every hour for the regional composite. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Base Reflectivity image from Key West, FL Base Velocity image from Key West, FL
Base Reflectivity image from Miami, FL Base Velocity image from Miami, FL Composite base reflectivity for the Southeastern USA
The strongest signal by far was that of birds entering the Jacksonville radar after sunset last night. The reason being the very strong NE wind flow over NE Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. This trend continued along the northern border of the state, over the Tallahassee and Eglin AFB radars as well, although the density decreased from east to west. The general movement of these birds was NE–>SW for the eastern part of the state, and more E–>W for the panhandle, probably owing more to geography than anything else (these birds weren’t launching into the Gulf, but rather following the coastline). I would expect that inland migrant traps around Jacksonville and along the northern Florida border, including the eastern panhandle, should see an increase in migrant activity this morning. East coast locations will likely be poor given the strong easterly flow.

A few small “puffs” of birds also made their way downstate, with strong east winds carrying them quickly to the west. A small movement can be seen on the Miami radar, from N–>S and from N–>E into the southern glades. Another can be seen from the Key West radar, moving from the southern glades into the lower Keys.

Due to the heavy precipitation over SE Florida, it’s possible that even these small movements of birds will be detectable on the ground where localized precipitation occurred between two and five o’clock this morning.

Good Birding! 🙂



  1. We had to wait until 10AM to band this morning (Tues the 25th) at Cape Florida because of the rain blob, but it was worth it as we banded 62 birds between then and 2PM. About 1/3 were redstarts, with ovenbirds, black & whites and black-throated blues well represented. Treats were a prothonotary, white-crowned pigeon, common ground-dove and our second ever Nashville warbler! Seen around were singles of Swainson’s warbler, yellow-billed cuckoo and indigo bunting. Still no thrushes! We’re not even hearing them fly over. We’ve only banded 2 veerys all month-both captured on the same day during the same net run.

    I found the Miami radar interesting before it crapped out. You could kind of pick out the signature of birds coming down and hitting the rain squalls coming up out of the SE. This was happening pretty much right over Miami, so I wonder what people saw at some of the other sites around? The species composition was similar to yesterday with a sprinkle of new stuff so I wonder if birds tried to leave last night and were prevented. The overall volume isn’t like what is coming into the state in JAX but it’s something. If it keeps raining at night maybe we’ll get a pileup.

    Michelle, Liz & Robin

  2. We birded AD Barnes from 6:05pm to 7:15pm.
    We saw similar birds at Barnes that Michelle reported at Cape FL minus the treat birds mentioned. We found the species most numerous were definately the American Redstarts and Black-throated Blue Warblers. Both female and male were observed although males were more abundant. Also found a few Ovenbirds, Black-and-White Warblers, one female Common Yellowthroat and the usual resident birds such as the Cooper’s Hawk, Cardinals, Common Moorhen, Mockingbirds, Blue Jays and one Green Heron by the lake. We did notice more Blue Jays than we usually see here. At about 7:15pm as we were about to leave we also saw one Common Nighthawk and heard Killdeer. In about an hour we sighted about 40 individual birds or more. We probably would have been able to spot more birds but the fading light and overcast made it a bit of a challenge.

    Angel & Mariel


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