It’s Not Too Late

In the event you found yourself missing the spectacle of the migration of Neotropical birds through the northeastern United States earlier this month, there is good news.  Apparently the cool and wet weather has prolonged the spring flights which by now are normally slowing to a trickle.  Take a look at this composite radar loop and see the masses of birds rising skyward as nightfall progresses from east to west during the past couple of hours.


Nocturnal migrating birds are indicated as they ascend into the path of sweeping radar beams at sites throughout the eastern United States.  The outer bands of Tropical Storm Alberto appear over southern Florida and strong thunderstorms are widespread elsewhere.   (NOAA/National Weather Service image)
A zoomed-in view of Texas shows a number of items of interest.   A tornado warning was issued for the thunderstorm seen north of San Antonio (hook-shaped red in lower center).  In the earliest frames of this loop, two well-defined rings expand around radar sites west of San Antonio, followed by a partial ring in the city and another to the north near the thunderstorm.  These rings plot accurately with the locations of large bat roosts.  The bats, millions of them, ascend high enough to be detected by radar as they depart their roosts to feed at dusk.  Finally at nightfall, great masses of Neotropical birds are displayed as they rise into the busy flyway used by northbound migrants after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico.  (NOAA/National Weather Service image)

Any of the birds presently moving through Texas could travel for another week or more to reach the Susquehanna region—so there’s still time to see the show.  Let’s grab a camera or some binoculars and go have a look.  It’s not too late.

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