A few weeks ago I saw the documentary The Messenger by Su Rynards. This film covers a wide variety of issues that songbirds are facing in 2016. Sadly many of the trials birds face on a daily bases are directly related to human activity.
One of the negative impacts on bird populations is light pollution. Most birds that migrate long distances fly at night. Bright city lights draw in birds, this can cause birds colliding in mid air. There seems to be a lot of confusion due to the lights.
Songbirds fly at night to avoid predators. This was a revelation to me. I’m not sure how I got to middle age without knowing this fact. This seems like a detail most people should know.
Scientist study bird migration on several fronts. Recently, thanks to some rather nifty tiny high tech gadgets, birds are being fitted with sophisticated tracking devices. Another technology being used is a familiar one to most of us.
It turns out weather radar not only picks up several forms of precipitation but can also detect biological targets such as birds and insects. I don’t know about you but if there is a swarm of bugs big enough for radar to detect I want to know about it so I can take cover!
How do meteorologist and ornithologist tell the difference between rain storms and bird migrations on a radar screen? Birds travel it tight circular patters that hold its shape. You have probably noticed that weather events are spread out and change patterns often as they move cross the screen. Once you see the a bird pattern it becomes clear this is a biological movement, not weather related.
Here is an example of bird migration on a radar screen. The blue circles are birds!
That’s a lot of birds on the move. How did I not know about this? It’s down right amazing!
Do try and find a way to see The Messenger. I saw a screening thanks to our local Audubon Society. Lets hope the documentary finds its way to Netflix soon.
To see a movie trailer for The Messenger click here.
by Jill Eudaly