Night Flight

Barth Bailey (Unsplash)

Do you fly at night sometimes? I flew in my dreams last night with arms outstretched for gliding over rooftops. I didn’t see any birds although on landing back in reality in the morning I learned that an estimated 10,400 birds had flown across James City county overnight. They headed ESE at an average speed of 14 mph.

The fall migration begins in August for some birds, including green herons, yellowthroat warblers, and the scarlet tanagers that were featured in last week’s post. Normally active by day, they migrate at night for safety. The numbers passing through surged between 10 and 11 pm, flying at 1,500 feet, although nocturnal migrants sometimes fly up to 10,000 feet to save more energy.

I checked other counties I know. Over 64,000 birds flew SSE down the Appalachian chain at around 3,000 feet across Pocahontas county, WV. If you live in the United States, you can check the spring and fall migrations in your country from radar records at The BirdCast Migration Dashboard.

By Roger Gosden

British-born scientist specializing in reproduction & embryology. Career as professor & research director spanned from Cambridge to Cornell's Weill Medical College in NYC. Married to Lucinda Veeck Gosden, embryologist for the first successful IVF team in America. Retired early to Williamsburg, Virginia, to write and recover from 'nature deficit disorder'. Currently a visiting scholar at William & Mary. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Gosden

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