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. . . Ticker for August 9, 2005 . . .
August 9, 2005 August 9, 2005 August 9, 2005 August 9, 2005

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The experts have weighed in on yesterday's Ticker topic
( http://ticker.mesonet.org/select.php?mo=08&da=08&yr=2005 )
and the overwhelming consensus among experienced radar types and
other folks-in-the-know is that yesterday's rings were caused by
birds in flight.

They occurred again this morning, for the third morning in a row:

The circadian rhythm of the phenomenon and the consistent placement
of the features also lend well to the concept of animal life waking
and doing business upon sunrise.

Several responses also mentioned looking at velocity data (why didn't
we think of that?). Here's a snapshot of the Doppler-estimated
velocities from the height of yesterday's birdscape:


The oranges and reds signify particles (large, feathery particles?)
moving away from the radar, while greens and blues are toward the
radar. So the movement of the birds - or, more properly, the average
movement of the population of birds - indicated an expanding ring,
which is exactly what we saw in the reflectivity frames.

We defer to the experts, but we're still having a hard time wrapping
our brains around this. It just seems like you'd need an awful, awful
large number of birds, spread out remarkably evenly and symmetrically
to generate those kind of reflectivity patterns.

Some questions remain in our minds, namely:

What bird species would congregate in one point or small area, then
fly outward - almost symmetrically - to populate three or four counties?
That seems like an unnecessary morning (and evening) commute. Why not
sleep closer to your day job? And, speaking of commutes, what's with
this sleep-in-congested-urban-bird-cities-then-go-work-in-the-countryside
approach to life ... kinda the oppsite of what we like to do.

Anyway, to help identify these species, we are (to turn a very
inappropriate phrase for bird-lovers) calling in the big guns. We want
to find out if our theories are on target (sorry, too tempting), or if
they will get shot down (okay, now we're just being silly).

Anyway, once they retrieve our answer, we can stuff this topic in the
bag - salt it away, so to speak - and put it on the back burner. Then
we can look forward to carving into the next meaty topic on our plate.

Wow, is anybody hungry?

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