April 2023

Vol. 51, No. 2

Zaps: 51-2

Zaps are notes of awareness and pleas for action that appear in the corresponding print edition of Bird Observer. Here they are from the current issue.


Birding Community E-Bulletin, March 2023

A developing new bird-migration predictive tool may very well be capable of closely and accurately forecasting where migratory birds “will go next.” It’s called BirdFlow, and while it is still being perfected, it should be available to biologists within this year and may eventually be available thereafter for birders to use.

Computer scientists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in collaboration with biologists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, recently announced this BirdFlow in Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Initial results are encouraging. For example, the researchers tested BirdFlow on 11 species of North American birds - including the American Woodcock, Wood Thrush, and Swainson’s Hawk - and found that not only did BirdFlow outperform other models for tracking bird migration, it also accurately predicted migration flows without real-time GPS and satellite tracking data. This could make BirdFlow a valuable tool for tracking species that may literally fly under the radar.

According to Benjamin Van Doren, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a co-author of the article, “Using BirdFlow, we can unite different data sources and paint a more complete picture of bird movements with exciting applications for guiding conservation action.”

This could be an exciting development, and you can review more details here:, and at the Birding Community E-Bulletin archive here:

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