Each fall we host a Migration Celebration to mark the billions of birds streaming through the air on their far-flung journeys. Join us for two weeks of online events, family-friendly programs, and ideas and resources for your own migration activities. Join the fun and learn something new—September 13–24, 2021!
Wednesday, Sept. 15, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern
Friday, Sept. 17, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern
Friday, Sept. 24, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern
Full Schedule of Live Events
In a series of free webinars, Cornell Lab migration specialists will explore migration from every angle—from the art of flying birds, to hawk watching, to actions you can take at home to help birds passing through. All webinars are free, but please register to secure your place by clicking the links in each listing below. If you can’t make a live event, no worries! All events with the exception of Masters of Flight will be recorded. Check back here after the webinar date for links to view the recorded talks. Closed captioning is provided for all events and recordings.
Fall Migration: Tips to Help Birds on Their Way
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1:00–2:00 p.m. Eastern
Migration is dangerous—learn how you can help keep birds safe this season. Expert panelists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and American Bird Conservancy discuss how to create a bird-friendly environment and help to prevent window collisions. Watch the recorded webinar and gets tips on fall gardening and feeding birds, so they’re in tip-top shape when they fly south.
In the Studio with Science Illustrator Jane Kim
Wednesday, Sept. 15, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern
Join us for a virtual visit to the studio of Jane Kim, founder of Ink Dwell and the artist behind the world-famous Wall of Birds mural at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Spend an hour with Jane as she walks us through the process of painting an American Avocet, a medium-distance migratory shorebird. Watch the recorded webinar as Jane answers questions about science illustration and ornithological artwork.
Family Story Time: Ruby’s Birds
Thursday, Sept. 16, 10:30–11:00 a.m. Eastern
Join us for a special Facebook Live Family Story Time as we read Ruby’s Birds. Authored by the Cornell Lab’s own Mya Thompson, Ruby’s Birds tells the story of a girl who learns how to birdwatch with a neighbor. Watch the recorded story time and learn how to look for birds along with Ruby! This book is age appropriate for preschool through 2nd grade, and we invite kids (and adults) of all ages to tune in.
Riveted by Raptors: A Look at Migration
Friday, Sept. 17, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern
Raptors are powerful, fast, and fascinating! And during migration many of them are on the move. Join Bird Academy course instructor Dr. Kevin McGowan as we investigate the wide diversity of these impressive birds and explore the who, what, where, and when of their migrations. Watch the recorded webinar and learn which raptors to keep an eye out for this fall.
Masters of Flight: A K-12 Exploration of Bird Flight and Migration
Saturday, Sept. 18. This webinar will be given twice: at 11:00 a.m. Eastern and again at 2:00 p.m. Eastern [Registration Full]
Update: Registration for these two events is now full. From tiny hummingbirds to majestic eagles, birds are famous for flight. If you’ve ever wondered how birds stay up in the air, why they migrate, and how far they can fly, join the Cornell Lab’s K-12 team for this interactive family program. In order to protect participants’ privacy, this program was not recorded.
Birds of the World: Amazing Migrations
Monday, Sept. 20, 1:00–1:30 p.m. Eastern
Discover which birds have the longest, highest, fastest, and farthest flights, among other fascinating migration facts during this webinar. Take a tour of the Earth’s most remarkable migratory birds and demonstrate how to use Birds of the World, an online database including over 10,700 species accounts. See stunning photos and learn something new!
Migratory Journeys Mapped: The Magic of eBird
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern
Have you ever wished for a birding crystal ball? Thanks to eBird’s massive citizen science database, both scientists and birders better understand the migration movements of birds. eBird’s Status and Trends maps will help you learn where and when a particular species is most likely on the move this migration season. Watch the recorded webinar with Team eBird to learn about these magical maps and more!
How the BirdCast Team Created Super-Accurate Bird “Forecasts”
Friday, Sept. 24, 12-1 p.m. Eastern
Some 80% of North American migratory birds travel under the cover of darkness, adding to the mystique of migration season. Join Dr. Andrew Farnsworth to learn how BirdCast merges weather radar and data modeling to forecast when and where birds are flying en masse—making birdwatching more fun and offering chances to take quick action and save birds’ lives.
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
- Merlin Bird ID: Our free Merlin Bird ID app can help you identify birds, tell you which birds to expect in your area today, and can even identify bird calls. Here’s more on how to get the most out of Merlin.
- BirdCast: Each fall billions of birds make their way to the tropics—and our BirdCast project can let you know when pulses of heavy migration will be coming through your area. Learn how it all works in our recorded webinar with BirdCast project staff—then check the BirdCast migration forecasts and real-time reports!
- 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.
Migration Made Fun for Kids and Families
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.
- Count Migrating Birds by Moonlight: Now that you know when it’s going to be a big night for migration (thanks to BirdCast!), go outside with a binoculars, a spotting scope, or a small telescope and count how many birds pass in front of the moon. Pro tip: September 20 is a full moon!
- 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.
- The Basics of Bird Migration: How, Where, and Why. Start with this primer and get a big picture of bird migration.
- How Birds Navigate When They Migrate. Turns out, it’s a complex mix of subtle cues.
- The Evolution of Bird Migration. To an earthbound species like humans, migration may seem extreme. But for many bird species it’s all about the availability of resources.
- Tiny Hummingbird’s Incredible Journey. How does a bird that weighs just 2–6 grams fly 1,200 miles without stopping?!
- Is Migration Getting More Dangerous? Bad weather, windows, and predators can all make migration deadly for birds, but there are steps we can take to help!
- Should I Stop Feeding Birds in the Fall So They Can Start their Migration? Find out if feeding birds has an impact on migration.
- The New Migration Science. Advances in science and technology are changing the way we understand migration.