Utne Blogs > Environment

Unidentified Feathered Objects

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: environment, wildlife, birds, birding, birdwatching, migration, Nexrad, radar,

Nexrad birdsThe great spring bird migration is under way, and here in Minnesota, right in the fast lane of the Mississippi flyway, we’re seeing all kinds of winged travelers. Loons and mergansers are clustering on lakes, awaiting a late ice-out on more northern waters. Hawks are circling and screeching out territorial threats. The juncos are already here and gone, having high-tailed it to their summer places in the boreal forest.

The modern birdwatcher can track this spectacular avian parade not just with binoculars and spotting scopes, but also with Nexrad radar. The Minnesota Birdnerd blog tipped me to this radar image from just after midnight last night, showing patterns of circles around Nexrad stations that indicate migrating birds aloft. To learn more about tracking migrating birds by radar, check out these tips from the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology.