The spring bird migration is reaching its peak across much of the United States this week, and to give your homeschoolers a window into what’s happening you should spend a few minutes exploring the wonderful birdcast.info website.
Birdcast.info is a daily “weather” forecast, and the weather it predicts is the nightly level of bird migration across the United States. (Did you know that most birds migrate at night? It’s true!) For example, tonight (4–5 May) is expected to be a fairly heavy migration night from Texas up through the Appalachians and into New England:
In addition to its daily forecast maps, birdcast.info also produces live nightly migration images based on nationwide radar observations that see bird movements directly. In this example, the video clip shows the course of one night, with the moving red line representing sunset as it passes from east to west across the country. About 30 minutes to an hour after sunset, the birds start moving and the whole sky “lights up” with radar echoes of migrating birds. It’s pretty dramatic:
Watch last night's live migration map *spring* to life with millions of birds as the red sunset line moves across the country. Nocturnal migrants take to the skies about 30-45 minutes after sunset. pic.twitter.com/efqrp39NO9
— BirdCast–Cornell Lab (@DrBirdCast) May 2, 2018
Birdcast.info will help you and your students connect what you see in your local neighborhood with the grand pattern of migration that is taking place across the whole continent.
What nature notes have you taken in your homeschool lately? Tell us in the comments! 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: Our recommended River Houses reference library (riverhouses.org/books) includes an excellent bird guide that would serve your homeschool well. Many other similar guides are also available—find one that is a good fit for your family and take it with you on all your outings, whether far afield or just to the backyard.