Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Migratory Patterns of Birds

Journey North is a citizen science platform which is monitoring and protecting migratory animal species. Tens of thousands of volunteers across the United States use the platform to report sightings of a number of different migratory animal and bird species. The project has been running for over 25 years and it has accumulated an important and invaluable database tracking the migratory patterns of a number of species. The platform is also used to record the dates when a number of plant species come into bloom.

Each of the animal, bird and plant species tracked on Journey North has its own interactive map. These maps allow you to view the citizen science reported sightings by date and by location. Each map also includes an animation option which allows you to view the sightings animated by month. This animation provides an overview of the migration patterns of each species. For example if you press 'play' on the Barn Swallow map you can observe how the reported sightings of the bird become more northerly from January to July as the swallows migrate north for the summer.

You can learn more about the migratory nature of a number of different American species of birds on National Geographic's Where Do They Go?. For this interactive feature National Geographic has created a series of beautiful maps to visualize the amazing migrations of different bird species in the Western Hemisphere.

Where Do They Go? starts with an impressive animated satellite map showing the fall migration of a Broad-Winged Hawk. This map animates the route of the birds' migration on top of a moving cloud cover satellite map showing some of the strong winds the birds encounter as they travel around the Gulf of Mexico.

As you scroll through Where Do They Go? a map of North, Central and South America is used to visualize the flight paths of different bird species, the major centers of human population and the seasonal changes in vegetation cover across the whole Western Hemisphere. These maps not only help to explain why the birds undertake these migrations but also beautifully visualize the huge distances that they travel.

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