Bird Migration Patterns - Western Hemisphere
DetailsPermalink to Details
- Added to the Catalog
- Available for
- Land: Life
- Bird Populations
- Citizen Science
DescriptionPermalink to Description
This dataset shows the migration of 118 species of terrestrial bird populations in the Western Hemisphere. Each dot represents the estimated location of the center of each species’ population for each day of the year. These estimations come from millions of observations from the eBird citizen-science database. eBird is a real-time, online checklist program, launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, that allows birdwatchers to enter their observations.
The colors in this dataset represent the average daily air temperature at the surface, calculated from observations from 1981-2010. The yellow and red colors represent warmer air, while blues show areas below freezing.
A recent study that explored these trajectories, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found broad similarities in the routes used by specific groups of species. A key finding from the study is that bird species that head out over the Atlantic Ocean during autumn migration to spend winter in the Caribbean and South America follow a clockwise looped trajectory and take a path farther inland on their return journey in the spring. Species that follow this broad pattern include Bobolinks, Yellow and Black-billed cuckoos, Connecticut and Cape May warblers, Bicknell’s Thrush, and shorebirds, such as the American Golden Plover. These looped pathways help the birds take advantage of more favorable winds during spring and autumn migration. For species that do not fly over the open ocean, the study finds that many use the same migration routes in the spring and fall. Geographic features shaping this pattern include mountain chains or isthmuses that funnel migrants along narrow routes. Additional details on the 118 species can be found here.
Next Generation Science StandardsPermalink to Next Generation Science Standards
Cross-cutting ConceptsPermalink to Cross-cutting Concepts
C1 Patterns. Children recognize that patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence
C1 Patterns. Students identify similarities and differences in order to sort and classify natural objects and designed products. They identify patterns related to time, including simple rates of change and cycles, and to use these patterns to make predictions.
C3 Scale Proportion and Quantity. Students recognize natural objects and observable phenomena exist from the very small to the immensely large. They use standard units to measure and describe physical quantities such as weight, time, temperature, and volume.
C1 Patterns. Students recognize that macroscopic patterns are related to the nature of microscopic and atomic-level structure. They identify patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships that provide information about natural and human designed systems. They use patterns to identify cause and effect relationships, and use graphs and charts to identify patterns in data.
C3 Scale Proportion and Quantity. Students observe time, space, and energy phenomena at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small. They understand phenomena observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale, and the function of natural and designed systems may change with scale. They use proportional relationships (e.g., speed as the ratio of distance traveled to time taken) to gather information about the magnitude of properties and processes. They represent scientific relationships through the use of algebraic expressions and equations
C1 Patterns. Students observe patterns in systems at different scales and cite patterns as empirical evidence for causality in supporting their explanations of phenomena. They recognize classifications or explanations used at one scale may not be useful or need revision using a different scale; thus requiring improved investigations and experiments. They use mathematical representations to identify certain patterns and analyze patterns of performance in order to re-engineer and improve a designed system.
Disciplinary Core IdeasPermalink to Disciplinary Core Ideas
ESS1.B Earth and the Solar System. Patterns of movement of the sun, moon, and stars as seen from Earth can be observed, described, and predicted
ESS2.D Weather & Climate. Weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region and time. People record weather patterns over time
LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. Plants depend on water and light to grow, and also depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.
ESS1.B Earth and the Solar System. The Earth’s orbit and rotation, and the orbit of the moon around the Earth cause observable patterns.
ESS2.D Weather & Climate. Climate describes patterns of typical weather conditions over different scales and variations. Historical weather patterns can be analyzed so that they can make predictions about what kind of weather might happen next.
LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. The food of almost any animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants, while decomposers restore some materials back to the soil.
LS2.D Social interactions and Group Behaviour. Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes.
ESS2.D Weather & Climate. Complex interactions determine local weather patterns and influence climate, including the role of the ocean.
LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. Organisms and populations are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors, any of which can limit their growth. Competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial interactions vary across ecosystems but the patterns are shared.
ESS2.D Weather & Climate. The role of radiation from the sun and its interactions with the atmosphere, ocean, and land are the foundation for the global climate system. Global climate models are used to predict future changes, including changes influenced by human behavior and natural factors
LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. Ecosystems have carrying capacities resulting from biotic and abiotic factors. The fundamental tension between resource availability and organism populations affects the abundance of species in any given ecosystem.
LS2.D Social interactions and Group Behaviour. Group behavior has evolved because membership can increase the chances of survival for individuals and their genetic relatives.
Notable FeaturesPermalink to Notable Features
- Each dot represents the estimated location of the center of each species’ population for each day of the year for 118 terrestrial bird species in the Western Hemisphere.
- The bird data comes from a citizen science project called eBird, launched by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- The air temperature colored data represent the average daily air temperature at the surface, calculated from observations from 1981-2010.
- Seasonal migration patterns, typically leaving in the fall and returning is the spring, are distinctly noticeable.