I’ve joined a few birders around the country in posting migration forecasts based on weather radar data. The plan is to try to predict migration conditions from overnight and then use observations from local birders to verify or modify these predictions. Over time, the predictions should get better, but only with your feedback. So if you bird in New Mexico, leave a comment or send me an email with your observations of migraton conditions!
Thanks go to David La Puma, Drew Weber, James Weber, and Mike Mills for writing php and bash scripts to automate this process.
Apologies for lack of radar maps and predictions for the past few days. As many others monitoring the radar found, the site was having difficulties and no images were available. The station for Albuquerque is still offline.
Due to a combination of unfamiliarity with the radar signals and some consistent weird patterns on all the radars, I’m having trouble interpreting these images. For example, on the White Sands radar, a long line in blue consistently forms between the station and the Rio Grande. The color is right for birds, but are these birds? On the Clovis radar, there are often high-intensity stationary patterns that would be suggestive of precipitation if they moved. Last night, movement of potential birds and other particles shifted from northeast to southeast. Is this accurate? Also, the images go from about 12:50 AM to 7:50 AM, and the window of migration should be from just after sunset to sunrise. I’ll be able to tweak the code for this soon.
The one interpretation I can make is that many birds were flying over El Paso, TX north into New Mexico. Movement was to the northeast throughout the night, so conditions are better for more typical New Mexico migrants or western migrants rather than vagrants blown in from the east. I also noticed one concentration of birds near dawn just south of Caballo Lake. This is area has one of the last stands of bosque vegetation before a long stretch of cleared banks and two reservoirs through the desert, making it a fantastic migrant trap. Last week a Red-faced Warbler and a Kentucky Warbler were found there.
Click on any of the images below to view radar loops; base reflectivity on the left, base velocity on the right.
KABX is still offline and has been since 4/28
White Sands, NM (KHDX):
El Paso (KEPZ):
Please send me feedback on when are where you find migrants!
For migration updates in other regions check-
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell <- NEW!
New England – Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE – Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley – Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio – Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Arizona – Words About Birds by Tim Schreckengost <- NEW!
Pac NW – Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US – eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird