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Something new every day: March birds with Pam Perry

A Tufted Titmouse hangs out in a small tree in Red Wing, Minnesota on Feb. 13, 2024.
iNaturalist user cebye
A Tufted Titmouse hangs out in a small tree in Red Wing, Minnesota on Feb. 13, 2024.

BirdCast: Watch the bird migration fly by

Pam Perry really came through for us this month: she introduced us to BirdCast, a tool that shows and predicts bird migration in real-time using weather radar surveillance data.

“This time of year, I feel like I can go out and see something new every day! It is so much fun.”
-Pam Perry

The live bird migration map looks a good deal like the weather radar you’d see on the news, but with birds instead of clouds. (In addition to detecting clouds’ direction and speed of travel, radar can detect the seasonal mass migration of birds. So handy!)

The forecast map show the expected levels of migratory activity across the continental United States over the next three days, and you can also get city-specific forecasts using the local migration bird alerts.

Finally, there’s the Migration Dashboard, which features “estimates of the total number of birds migrating, their directions, speeds, and altitudes. This tool depicts migration patterns in near real time or as a summary of a whole night.”

Birdcast is produced by Colorado State University, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

“A lot of people can be outside, and they might as well be in a cardboard box. Nothing getting in.”
John Latimer

Merlin Bird ID

As Pam Perry pointed out, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is also responsible for our favorite bird app: Merlin Bird ID!

Merlin Bird ID is certainly useful for identifying birds by sight, but the feature that really stands out is called the "Sound ID" feature. It's truly magical: when you click a button, it “listens” through your microphone and tells you what birds are singing, drumming, or honking around you!

It’s free and doesn't require any cell service once it’s downloaded - but be sure to download your regional "bird pack" before venturing out. Enjoy!


For more phenology, subscribe to our Season Watch Newsletter or visit the Season Watch Facebook page.

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

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Charlie Mitchell (she/they) joined the KAXE team in February of 2022. Charlie creates the Season Watch Newsletter, writes segment summaries for the website, and coordinates our Engaging Minnesotans with Phenology project. With a background in wildlife biology, she enjoys learning a little bit about everything, whether it's plants, mushrooms, aquatic invertebrates, or the short-tailed shrew (did you know they can echolocate?).