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Monday Mysteries 042423 Answered

My Column: A Terrific Migration Website

Shields Baltimore Oriole (1)'Tis the season for Baltimore Orioles and other migrating birds. Photo: Ron Shields
My column in The Record today is about an extremely useful website that lets you know which birds should be migrating in our area, and when.

You can read it here:

By Jim Wright
Special to The Record | USA TODAY NETWORK - NEW JERSEY

     Now that peak bird migration is nigh, you need to check out a terrific website that provides the latest information on new arrivals. It’s called BirdCast, and not surprisingly, it’s from the celebrated Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.  

  I’m embarrassed to admit that BirdCast TheRecordBergenEdition_20230427_LF01_1-page-001wasn’t on my radar until recently, but that’s in part because I’ve focused on other Cornell brainchildren – eBird, the Merlin bird identification app, Project FeederWatch, and many more.

  According to Andrew Farnsworth, a senior research associate at the Cornell Lab, the goals of BirdCast are “to showcase the spectacle of bird migration and to explore questions like when, where and how far birds migrate and how many birds passed last night.”

  Farnsworth adds: “BirdCast is not as popular, sadly, as Kylie Jenner, Cristiano Ronaldo or Dwayne Johnson, but it’s popular with birders in the know.”

    Here are just a few of the many tools you can find at

   * A bird migration dashboard for every county in New Jersey, including the number of birds that crossed that county the night before. On April 16, for example, 8,800 birds passed through. You can also see which nocturnally migrating species are most likely to arrive or depart in the coming month.

   * Bird migration forecast maps that show predicted overnight migration three hours after sunset, as detected by the U.S. weather surveillance radar network.

   * Migration alerts tailored to your town

   Farnsworth suggests you start with these two BirdCast webpages: (using the new migration forecast tools) and (using weather surveillance radar to study migration).


  This is my favorite birding time of year. The warblers, orioles and other birds are arriving. The bugs aren’t terrible yet (but beware of ticks). The trees aren’t totally leafed out. And the weather is Goldilocks-worthy (not too hot, I hope, and not too cold).

   For the best birding, especially if you are a little rusty, try a bird walk with a group. I liken it to training for a 10K. If you want to run faster, train with faster runners. If you want to improve your birding skills, go birding with better birders.

   Here are a few unusual upcoming nature events in the next 10 days:
  Bioblitz, Sat, Apr 29, 9 a.m. 2 p.m. at Lorrimer Sanctuary, 790 Ewing Ave., Franklin Lakes. Free Register at image.png

   Birding for Beginners, Sunday, April 30, 1 p.m. at the New Jersey Botanical Garden, Ringwood. Indoor presentation followed by a walk. Free. Learn about bird ID, optics, field guides and more with the Bergen County Audubon Society. Contact: Don Torino, [email protected] (201) 230-4983.
  Secaucus Green Fair, Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Secaucus Xchange.  A celebration of our planet, with environmentally conscious vendors, exhibits, and activities. Free. 4000 Riverside Station Blvd. Visit for details. 

   “The Bird Watcher” appears every other Thursday. Jim’s next book, "The Screech Owl Companion," will be published by Timber Press. Email Jim at [email protected].