New Year Fireworks Scares Birds

Biodiversity | Science Politics

Koen Es, nbgb@inquirebotany.org | 02/02/12 | Brussels
A recent Dutch study shows that birds, especially waterfowl, flock to flight when fireworks go off at midnight on New Year's Eve. Detailed analysis of radar images at Brussels Airport shows the same phenomenon in Belgium. The Dutch study also concludes that activity levels amongst the birds are highest in wetlands close to densely populated urban areas.
Weather radar is usually used to track precipitation zones and estimate their intensity. The Belgian Royal Meteorological Institute has processed in real-time images fromf different radars, including the Belgocontrol weather radar at Brussels Airport. The presence of birds can disrupt radar measurements, but there are usually too few birds in the air to produce a detectable signal. However, when large numbers of birds are present in the airspace, for example during large-scale migrations, this can be observed.

 
 

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