Posted by: woodcreeper | September 2, 2008 @ 6:03 am

Birds take flight on northeast winds

Man… weather is weird. Here’s the radar from 7:00pm last night through 5:00am this morning.

Frames are every 1/2 hour. 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

Winds were out of the northeast last night, so you would have thought that birds would be high-tailing it down through the state. Instead the composite image only shows small concentrated movements of birds across the entire state, with very noticeable pulses from Tampa/St Pete into the Gulf, and Key West into the Florida Straits. I can’t tell if this just means that birds were flying at low altitude (birds flying lower would get picked up closer to the center of the radar, and therefore appear more concentrated) or if birds were cluing into something other than wind (like upper-air instability, for example). Either way, the southwest trajectory will favor inland and west coast locations. The Keys also looks particularly good… anybody want to ground truth the Keys? 🙂

Good Birding,


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  1. Here’s what I got after two hours of birding at Matheson Hammock from 3:40-5:35pm: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (10), Worm-eating Warbler (5), American Redstart (9), Prairie Warbler (1), Ovenbird (1), Northern Parula (1).


  2. This is a little late but I noticed many swallows (mostly seemed to be barn swallows) starting Friday night Aug 29th. We were going out fishing from Ft. Myers and between about 6:30 and sunset south of Sanibel there were birds flying low headed due south.
    Sunday, 31 Aug. I drove from Ft. Myers to Cocoa and again noticed swallows pretty much everywhere.
    On the way back Monday, Sept. 1 I did a short count of 56 swallows in 17.6 miles in a stretch north of the town of Okeechobee. So app. 3/mi for a 200 mile trip gives an estimate of 600 birds. I’m guessing maybe they were feeding while waiting for conditions to improve.


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