Northern Mockingbird shows up at the feeder on a rainy day!
Article by Curtis Beaird
Photography by Norma W. Beaird
Bird migration was in full swing until the weekend of the Masters Golf Tournament. A cold front stalled over the Northern half of Florida to include the panhandle, a good portion of South Georgia and Savannah, to the lower east coast of South Carolina.
Sunday morning started as a gray and misty day with light rain. By mid-afternoon the day had become an umbrella-necessary experience. While the golfers played on in the rain and worked to keep the golf grips dry, the birds remained grounded.
If you missed the weather map it look like this:
This regional map (above) gives you an idea of the cloud coverage and rain density later in the afternoon. As night fell, the storm increased intensity both in terms of rain and wind. It was easy to conclude that birds downed along the FL/GA border would go nowhere until Monday after sunset. I guessed wrong.
Migrating birds are moved by a rhythm greater and more demonstrative than the clock on our wall or our logical understanding of best travel times. About 11:00 pm, I checked NEXRAD. Doppler radar can distinguish quiet handily between a storm and birds. It is sensitive to the point of reflecting pollen, smoke and insects. When I looked, what I found was a surprise, at least to me. The birds knew what they were going to do all along.
The above NEXRAD graphic demonstrates the storm dissipating. Note the purple band separating the blue swatch into Florida and the Gulf at Figure A. Also, note the other "broken" section at "C" sliding into the Atlantic.
What we see at section "B", especially the light blue dots below the B, and the smattering of red dots north of B, are for the most part, birds. It appears that as soon as the weather broke, they continued on their migrating way. My confirmation for this action could come Monday morning on April 15th. We are located north of their current migration route and could see some new arrivals in the morning. I will keep you posted. Oh - by the way, Adam Scott from Australia won The Masters in the rain.
Copyright 2013, Curtis Beaird. All rights reserved.