April 11, 2011

Animated Bird-Migration Maps

Watch bird populations ebb and flow with the season in these animated population maps, from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's eBird site.
While some of these maps match the known distribution of birds very well, some maps extrapolate into areas where we know the species does not occur. Often this is caused by regions of sparse eBird data, such as northern Minnesota, northern Maine, much of Nevada, sparsely-settled regions in the upper Great Plains, Montana, and elsewhere. In some other cases (south Florida for example), the habitat information seems to be insufficient to understand the landscape as it relates to bird occurrence. In all of these cases, however, we believe that more eBird checklists from these regions will improve the model’s ability to understand bird occurrence. So we strongly encourage you to check out our story that discusses the weaknesses in our eBird coverage in the United States, and to contribute any checklists you have from these regions.
It is fascinating how Western tanagers, for example, just explode up from the Southwest.

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