Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | April 12, 2013 @ 9:07 am

Front Line Action

National Overview
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. Take a look at that front! Migration was restricted to the east of the front as it made its way across the Gulf last night. Southerly winds were in effect for most of the peninsula with shifting winds across the panhandle. Birds were on the move north, take a peek at your favorite migrant trap today.

Frames are every 1/2 hour. Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.
Base Reflectivity image from Tampa Bay, FL Base Velocity image from Tampa Bay, FL Base Reflectivity image from Miami, FL Base Velocity image from Miami, FL Base Reflectivity image from Key West, FL Base Velocity image from Key West, FL

Migration was apparent over the FL Straits, triggered by southerly winds over Cuba and south into the West Indies. A large push of migrants took to the skies as seen on the Key West radar. Birds seem to have taken off from other places besides Cuba as well. Miami radar picked up lots of birds entering from the S and the SE. Birds continued north until they reached the central part of the state where they seem to have either vectored NE or put down in anticipation of the impending frontal boundary. Birders in Central Florida should check local parks and tried and true migrant traps for new arrivals. Birds did not have to fly through the bad weather so we don’t expect exhausted birds on the ground but rather smart birds that decided to suspend their migration.
The NE part of the state could see more new arrivals than Central FL as birds were headed N and NE to avoid the winds and rain. If you bird that part of the state send us a quick email or post to our Facebook page, let us know if birds did indeed make it that far north. South Florida had some morning rain that could have brought down some of the action; look out for new arrivals at coastal migrant traps. Tampa and St. Pete birders should keep an eye on the front as it makes its way east, birds were on the move that way, diurnal flight has diminished and birds could be putting down to wait the storm out. If birds began to move NE as the sun was rising they could have “hit the deck” and dropped out of radar range rendering them invisible on radar. Ocala National Forest could be loaded if this is the case; other natural areas around Ocala could be good as well if this hold true. Get out and bird, stay dry and make sure to report your sightings!

Update: Almost forgot to mention the panhandle! The Yucatan Peninsula was covered with clouds and rain at takeoff time last night. Birds surely decided to wait for a better day even if winds were good for migration. Very little birds hit the MS/AL/FL border yesteday, even though they should have been flying over the Gulf; winds were optimal for takeoff the night before. If birds did take off, the front may have slowed their progress and birds could have been arriving late last night or today before sunrise. These birds would definitely be exhausted and one should be able to find these birds along the coast at migrant traps, on the floor or in any shrub or tree available. Let’s hope that we hear positive reports of birds making it tired instead of mass die offs, if birds got caught up over the Gulf, they would have had a nasty long flight.

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, 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 and Mariel



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