BCR 125: Benjamin Van Doren & Kyle Horton, Bird Migration Maps


Benjamin Van Doren and Kyle Horton talk about an exciting new project called BirdCast developed and recently launched live migration maps of weather and bird migration.

Benjamin Van Doren a PhD student at the University of Oxford in England studying the many determinants of bird migration. In his work, he uses a range of approaches, including genomics, radar, and individual tracking. Since 2012, Benjamin has been a member of the BirdCast team at Cornell, where he studied biology and statistics as an undergraduate.

Kyle Horton a Rose Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We will be talking about bird migration and Cornell’s BirdCast. Both Benjamin and Kyle developed and recently launched live migration maps, an incredible tool built upon, of a computer model of weather and bird migration.

Show Notes:

  • Why is radar the tool you use to study migration?
  • How is radar used to predict the migration of birds that fly at night?
  • Ground truth, how can one tell what birds species are being seen on the radar?
  • Tell us about the results you have found such as daily numbers and peak periods based on analyses of decades of radar images from hundreds of points across the United States. What criteria were used?
  • How can migration forecast help prevent the deaths of migrating birds from wind turbines, and what is the scope of the migration and the number of potential impact deaths if not mitigated?
  • What troubles you about the state of migratory birds? The radar images from the sixties would seem to indicate that North America has lost a significant number of migrants. What can we do to help stem this decline?
  • What advise can you offer young people interested in a career in birds?

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