Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Migratory Patterns of Birds

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is running the largest citizen science project in the world. For fifteen years bird watchers across the globe have been reporting their observations to eBird. The result is a huge database of over 750 million observations, recording dated sightings of thousands of species of birds.

The eBird Science team has used the observations made in North America to create animated migration and seasonal abundance maps for 610 bird species. The maps visualize the abundance of each species across North America and allow you to observe their migratory patterns over the course of each year.

The abundance maps show where each bird species is most common across the continent. These maps use different colors to show the relative abundance of a bird species at different times of the year. The migratory maps allow you to view the migratory patterns of whole populations of bird species across the whole continent of North America. For example in the map above you can observe the abundance of waterfowl in different locations over the course of a year. Note how in the winter the Mississippi River Valley shows up on the map as thousands of waterfowl visit.

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