As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 22 February 2016

'Amazing' animated map shows a year of bird migrations in 30 seconds


Published on: February 15, 2016 | Last Updated: February 15, 2016 3:33 PM EST

Birders can now watch the looping and weaving migration routes of more than 100 North and South American bird species on an animated map.

Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology, which has a major public outreach office, has posted the information showing how migration routes intersect and diverge.

The map of 118 species condenses the movements of a whole year into about 30 seconds, with the changing dates shown in one corner. It shows which species stay in their northern nesting grounds for several months, and which visit only for a few short weeks. Each species is identified on a second animated map on the site.

And it shows that on any day in the year, something is migrating somewhere.

Ottawa naturalist Dan Brunton called the effect “amazing. Watch it a few times and distinct patterns really start emerging. One of the dramatic things it establishes is that at least some of these species are on the move at all times.”

Cornell published the work in a major science journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In the meantime, birder Bruce Di Labio says year-round resident birds such as cardinals, chickadees and house finches are reacting to the longer days and starting to voice their spring calls. Ottawa has gained more than an hour and 40 minutes of daylight since winter began.

Di Labio says one oddity this winter has been the American robin, which has stayed in Ottawa in unusually high numbers this winter.

“They stayed through the warm fall and early winter,” he said. “And this year there was a large amount of fruit on the trees, so they’ve been able to find enough food. But as the winter goes on they’re having to move around (to find food), and then people see them and think, hey, the robins have returned.”

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