Predicting Songbird Migration with BirdCast
BirdCast is an exciting bird migration prediction application now in its third year of operation at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Dr. Andrew Farnsworth will introduce audiences to BirdCast in the SongbirdSOS documentary when it is broadcast next year.
Farnsworth says the BirdCast project aims to provide real-time forecasts of songbird and other species migrations, much like a weather forecast substituting ‘migrations’ for ‘storms’ and ‘birds’ for ‘rain.’
Launched in 2011, BirdCast can now forecast bird migration on a continental scale by merging radar, eBird, acoustic, weather, and habitat data. The migration models will also allow researchers to better understand bird behavior in response to environmental change. This article from Cornell’s All about Birds website explains how Eight Intriguing Migration Mysteries were solved with Birdcast.
Farnsworth told us the Birdcast project idea came about after he spent many hours atop Mount Pleasant in Ithaca with Bill Evans listening to bird ‘night flight calls’ during spring and fall migration and then doing his graduate years with Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Lab of Ornithology and Dr. Sidney Gauthreaux, a pioneer in analyzing radar for bird migration .
Today Farnsworth says he’s trying to keep up with a creative and talented graduate student Benjamin Van Doren who has been a analyzing all the BirdCast data to help the project study wind drift and how birds behave in windy conditions across the North East US.
For more on the basics of bird-watching by radar, check out this article on eBird.
BirdCast is a collaborative effort funded by the National Science Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation, with partners at Microsoft, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Artwork from the blog post – Eight Intriguing Migration Mysteries Solved With BirdCast and eBird | All About Birds