Migration Celebration 2020

Each fall, the Cornell Lab Visitor Center hosts a one-day event called Migration Celebration when we open our doors to the community. This year, join us online from September 14–26 for two weeks of virtual celebration including articles, activities, and a schedule of live events. We’ll host short online talks with our migration specialists and feature family-friendly games so that even our youngest birders can join the fun.

Flock of Canada Geese in flight.
Canada Geese by Kim Caruso/Project FeederWatch.

Live Events Schedule

Join us for the following webinars to explore migration from every angle—from making migration forecasts to capturing the magic in stunning documentaries. All webinars are free, but please register to secure your place. If you can’t make a live event, no worries! With the exception of Migration Madness, the events will be recorded. Check back frequently to view the recorded talks.

Turning lights out during peak nights of migration can save birds’ lives.

Lights Out to Protect Migratory Birds

Thursday, 9/17, 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Eastern
View the Recorded Webinar
Every spring and fall, billions of birds migrate through the U.S., mostly under the cover of darkness. This mass movement of birds must contend with a pervasive but largely unrecognized threat: light pollution. Find out how artificial light endangers migratory birds and learn how you can help with Lights Out Project Coordinator Julia Wang.

Mapping Migration with eBird

Tuesday, 9/22, 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Eastern
View the Recorded Webinar
Want to know when a particular bird species will be migrating through your area? Learn how to use the eBird Status and Trends maps to see how more than 600 North American species move across the Western Hemisphere. Learn how the maps were created and how to glean great info from them with Cornell Lab of Ornithology GIS Developer Tom Auer.

Bird Academy ad, Baltimore Oriole by Arvo PoolarBaltimore Oriole by Arvo Poolar.

Save 50% on Joy of Birdwatching Course

The Joy of Birdwatching is Bird Academy’s online self-paced course designed for brand-new birdwatchers, and gives you all the tools you need to find, ID, and connect with birds.

With 8 in-depth lessons, instructional videos, and a vibrant discussion group, it’s a great way to build wellbeing and mindfulness into your daily life. Learn more and save 50% through September 26, 2020.

Coastal Solutions: Building a Bold New Community to Address the Shorebird Crisis

Thursday, 9/24, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern
View the Recorded Webinar
Each year, millions of shorebirds undertake epic migrations to and from the Arctic and Latin America, but as human development expands, coastal habitats are vanishing. Shorebird population declines represent the world’s number one conservation crisis facing birds today. Our Coastal Solutions Fellows Program brings together early-career professionals in Latin America to craft solutions for ecosystem management and coastal development. Program Director Osvel Hinojosa-Huerta will moderate this discussion with three Fellows located along the Pacific Americas Flyway in Guatemala, Colombia, and Chile.

Media that Matters: Natural History Filmmaking that Makes a Difference

Friday, 9/25, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Eastern
View the Recorded Webinar
Our Conservation Media team partners with local communities and organizations around the world to create compelling science-based media about pressing conservation issues. Join us for a virtual film screening and panel discussion on what goes into making a natural history film. Download a family-friendly activity with tips from professionals on how to create your own natural history film at home!

Migration Madness: Celebrating Migration Together—Family Event!

Saturday, 9/26
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Eastern
Morning Session—FULL
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Afternoon Session—FULL
It’s a migration party! Celebrate migration with families across the country in this live event with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Education and Visitor Center teams. We will be learning about migration and playing interactive games that are sure to be a hit for the whole family. Don’t miss out on the fun! Suggested age range is grades K–5. Registration is limited, sign up now.


map of forecasted bird migration activityBirdCast migration forecasts can let you know when heavy flights are about to happen.

Enjoy Migration With These Free Resources

In between attending our live events, keep up with migration in your own neighborhood. Right now is the peak of fall migration for many species, so don’t miss it! Here are some tools we think you’ll find useful for planning when to go birdwatching, knowing what you’re seeing, and keeping kids fascinated.

Discover Migrating Birds Near You

  • BirdCast: In September and October, billions of birds will migrate from the U.S. and Canada to the tropics—and our BirdCast project can let you know when to expect them around your hometown. How? BirdCast uses weather radar to predict when pulses of heavy migration will be coming through. Check migration forecasts and see migration in real-time with BirdCast. Watch our recorded webinar with Research Associate Adriaan Dokter and Lights Out Coordinator Julia Wang. They explain how BirdCast works and discuss how the forecasts inform research and conservation efforts such as Lights Out.
  • eBird Status and Trends: Using bird observations from hundreds of thousands of eBird users, the eBird Status and Trends maps indicate species abundance and movements of birds across the Western Hemisphere. Use these maps to learn when specific bird species migrate through your area.
  • Merlin Explore Birds: The Merlin Bird ID app, doesn’t just help you identify birds. Use the “Explore Birds” feature and learn what birds to expect in your area and when.

Need Help With Bird ID? Try These Apps

  • Merlin Bird ID: Our Merlin Bird ID app can help tell you which bird you’ve found, whether it’s a photo you upload or a description you give by answering 5 quick questions. Plus, you can use the “Explore Birds” feature to know what birds are in your area now!
  • BirdNET for Song ID: Hear a call you don’t recognize? Make a quick recording with your smartphone. Then upload a sound file to the BirdNET website or use their Android app to record and ID bird sounds!

Migration Made Fun for Kids and Families

first slide in a slideshow about birds and migrationDownload a slideshow so everyone in the family can learn about migration.

Go outside or explore online and discover more with these interactive ideas.

  • Slideshow and Activity Guide: Millions of birds are on their fall migration right now! What do you know about flight and migration? Follow along with this slideshow and activity guide and discover different aspects of flight and why migration is so cool. Craft and game ideas included for the whole family.
  • Paper Airplane Olympics: Create and test a variety of airplanes. Give awards for the plane that flies the farthest, straightest, and craziest! Discuss how wing shape affects flight.
  • Curious about migration near you? Visit the BirdCast website and discover your local migration forecast. Explore live migration maps and check to see if there are any migration alerts near you.
  • Make a pledge to turn off your outdoor lights during migration. Read more from the Lights Out project and learn how light pollution harms migrating birds.
  • Family bird migration obstacle course: Set up a course and race each other through it! What natural and human-made obstacles might migrating birds encounter? Get ideas from the Flight and Migration Slideshow.

More to Read

A collection of articles to help you learn about migration, including fun facts and advances in research.

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