Posted by: NatureIsAwesome | April 14, 2014 @ 2:24 am

Migration Ahead of the Frontal System


Radar shows migration ahead of the front with increased activity over MS, AL and spilling over into GA.
Birds are feeling the need to fly, optimal winds for migration triggered what looked like a good movement on radar. Returns were apparent on all Florida radar stations. Below are reflectivity radar still images taken a bit after 1a.m.

A new stock of migrants being recorded as they fly the FL Straits over the FL Keys and out into the Gulf. Tail winds will enable these birds to move long distances. Winds have been less than optimal allowing for birds to fatten up for a few days. This equates to migration ready birds or long distance capable migrants.

Miami radar shows an exodus out of the Ten Thousand Islands with new birds flying in off the Caribbean, likely coming in from the Bahamas. Winds are optimal for island hopping migrants; birds moving from Jamaica, Puerto Rico & Hispaniola have longer distances to fly, so expect these birds later in the day.

Central FL was alive with nocturnal migration. Birds were moving high overhead by the time they had reached this region. Expect the majority of this movement to overshoot you by morning. Areas where rain or fog may have disrupted migration should be your best bet in the morning.

Jacksonville radar shows lots of overland migration. The radar recorded large numbers of birds moving into Georgia by midnight. This should mean that birds while not encountering unfavorable conditions may fly as far north as the Carolinas and Tennessee.

Tallahassee radar recorded birds flying the short hop over the Gulf out of the Tampa and St. Petersburg region. If you look at the velocity image above you can see what appears to be birds flying a NW flight path which indicates the hop over water instead of circumnavigating the Nature Coast. When conditions are optimal, this migration strategy is incredibly effective at allowing birds to cover large areas over short periods of time.

Winds at 3,000ft which is a good cruising altitude for migration birds. This wind map will help you take an educated guess at which direction would be optimal for birds to migrate. Notice that it also helps you see if winds are good for migration over
the Caribbean, Central and South America.

This wind map with overlaying satellite image will help you gauge where the incoming frontal boundary is currently sitting and where it will most likely affect migration. Notice the large amount of upper layer clouds associated with this frontal system. Birds do not like to fly through thick, high and mid level clouds which almost act as a wall for migrating birds. Look for concentrations of migrants at or near areas affected by the eastward moving squall line associated with the front.

Have a great day!

Nature is Awesome
Angel & Mariel


  1. You just get better and better at this! Thank you. I know Carolina Chickadees don’t migrate. But, we had one show up Sat. that had that puffy exhausted look. Was not sick. Feed slow. Rested for a couple hours. Do they move around even though they don’t officially migrate?
    And, just think. We go to work in a few hours. 🙂


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