Don’t look up!!!!!
A “high intensity” migration of birds is expected to move across Pennsylvania on Monday night.
According to BirdCast, more than 50,000 birds per square miles could be flying south above Harrisburg by 7 p.m. Monday, September 14. Over Philadelphia it could be more than 41,000 birds. And, over Pittsburgh it could be more than 50,000.
While the numbers forecast for tonight are much lower for Harrisburg and Philadelphia, they are just as high both nights for Pittsburgh.
BirdCast, a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Colorado State University, applies weather surveillance radar to gather information on the numbers, flight directions, speeds and altitudes of birds aloft to develop the forecasts known as BirdCast Alerts.
The project notes that “high intensity nocturnal migration may not necessarily mean an excellent day of birding; rather it means that large numbers of birds are migrating or predicted to migrate at night.”
The advice is “check your local patch, listen out your window and look to the skies to seek out those migrants that have arrived of are passing through your area.”
According to the National Audubon Society, “September is peak migration time for millions of songbirds, heading south from temperate North America to more tropical latitudes.
“Most migrate at night—orioles, warblers, sparrows, and tanagers.
“Nocturnal migrants of the same species call as they fly, enabling flock-mates to stick together. Many of these flight calls are distinctive, enabling those with an excellent ear—or good recording gear—to identify them as they pass.”
For a look at your local forecast, visit the BirdCast Alerts website and enter the name of the city.
For real-time migration maps, visit the Birdcast website.
The trans-Pennsylvania migration is part of a transcontinental mass movement of nearly 900 million birds over the next two nights. It is expected to be one of heaviest migration periods of the fall.
The Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program urged, “At night, artificial lights can confuse birds and cause them to become disoriented or fly into buildings. To protect these migrating birds, turn off as many of your outdoor lights as possible from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. both evenings. This small action can have a big impact on the safety of our migratory species.”