Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Will Birds Be Migrating to Our Block Party? August 21, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Birds,Fall,Seasons,Summer,Upcoming Events — saltthesandbox @ 8:43 pm
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The boys and I just checked the weather radar to see if the rain will be ending soon — and to see if birds are migrating south towards our “No Child Left Inside” block party. If you look at this weather radar image from the Chicago Tribune‘s website, you’ll see the answer should be yes on both counts:

The animated version of this image shows the storms moving to the southeast, through Chicago.

The green-and-yellow streaks and blobs around and southeast of Chicago are rainstorms. The green circles north and west of Illinois are night-migrating birds taking off and flying south. The animated version of this image showed storms (and migrating birds) moving to the southeast, through Chicago.

Why are birds on the move? Because winds blowing from the north help migrating birds make their southward journeys. Here’s a wind map to show you what we mean:


This map shows wind patterns at about the same time as the radar image, above. By morning we may have five to ten mile-per-hour north winds blowing through our neighborhood, just west of Chicago.

Overnight north winds may bring smaller birds like warblers, flycatchers, and thrushes to our block party. The night-migrating birds will land near sunrise and then spend the morning searching for food. If north winds continue through the day we may see some hawks migrating overhead.

Of course, north winds bring cool air, so temperatures at tomorrow’s block party may only reach the low 70s. (The neighborhood kids won’t be running under the sprinklers like they have some years.) However, our 7:30 a.m. nature walk may turn up some interesting birds, and we’ll keep our eyes and ears open for fall migrants throughout the day.


To learn more:

You can study bird migration using radar images from WeatherUnderground (the source of the Tribune’s images) and the National Weather Service radar website.

The blog tracks bird migration of New Jersey (and other parts of the United States) using weather radar.

To learn more about using weather radar to track bird movements, try the Badbirdz – Reloaded blog, which includes a primer on using weather radar to track bird migration. For deeper explanations of bird migration and radar, try the New Jersey Audubon website.



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