Migration on the Radar

Eyes in the sky are spying on migrants. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)
Eyes in the sky are spying on migrants. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)
To most of us in the Caribbean, weather radar is mostly a tool to tell us if we should be worried about the next tropical storm. However, thanks to cutting-edge data analysis, it can also give us an idea of what migratory birds are heading our way each fall. Radar systems can see weather patterns—like rain—but they also pick up the movement of insects and birds.

By applying machine learning algorithms to large sets of radar data, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology—a BirdsCaribbean partner—is developing the ability to track bird migrations as they happen. It sounds a bit like science fiction, and would have been a few years ago, but you can read all about it in Nautilus: Big Data Is for the Birds. Welcome to the future!