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See where birds are migrating in real time, in one map

Vox: “…BirdCast, forecast provides a three-day outlook of how many birds will be flying overhead across the country — and where. After sunset on Tuesday, for example, BirdCast estimates that 74,000 of them will journey through the skies of New York City. The tool, which was developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a handful of other universities, also shows where large numbers of birds are cruising through the sky in close to real time. In other words: It’s radar, but for birds. This kind of predictive technology is especially useful as fall migration nears its peak in North America. Each autumn, billions of migratory birds travel south in search of food and warmer weather, some flying several thousand miles. The famous Arctic tern makes an epic journey of more than 12,000 miles from the Arctic to Antarctica — a distance that surpasses the world’s longest nonstop commercial flight. Migration offers something of a fleeting backyard paradise even to novice birdwatchers. You can see all kinds of unique species in your local patch of green as they’re passing through, such as warblers, thrushes, and sparrows in New York City’s Central Park. Forecasting maps like BirdCast help by revealing migration hot spots, from southern Texas to the Great Lakes region. These tools are also a boon for birds. Hundreds of millions of them die each year from colliding with windows, and disorienting lights are a big part of the problem. Forecasts can help cities pinpoint when to turn off the lights, allowing more of the winged passersby safe passage…”

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