Peter Nye
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
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  • Weather Forecast for the Birds

    As the eagles migrate, here are steps you can follow:

    1. Find an Earth Science teacher who knows about meteorology (the science of weather). With the teacher, re-read the description of the weather conditions under which Peter Nye & other experts believe eagles migrate.

    2. Find a good weather map on the WWW or in your daily newspaper. SAVE THESE MAPS every day. You will review them each time new migration data arrives. Meanwhile, learn how to identify high and low pressure areas, wind direction, sun or cloud cover and other factors the scientist mentions. Ask your teacher:

    • How do I know if it's sunny?
    • How can I tell the wind direction & speed?
    • How can I predict the arrival of a storm?
    • What is a "thermal"? When and why do they occur?

    3. Produce a daily weather forecast for the eagle. Collect data on factors you think might affect the eagle. For example, your weather reports could include such information as: Daily high and low temperatures, the presence of high/low pressure cells, wind direction & speed, precipitation.

    4. Based on the weather conditions each day predict whether the eagle will migrate. Each day ask, Will the eagle fly today? Why or why not? If so, how far do I predict it will go?

    Here's a sample forecast made by students at Hawes School of the RST2 project:

    "We think the eagle will stay where it is because the wind is going south and snow is coming that will block the eagle's route. We used daily weather forecast maps of the area to make our prediction. Wind and temperature played the largest role." See the students' migration map and predictions on the RST2 WWW Site .

    5. When telemetry data arrive, compare your migration predictions to the telemetry results. Go back to the weather maps you saved and look at the conditions. What was the weather on the days the eagle moved? What were the conditions on the day the eagle did not move? What conclusions can you draw about the movements of the eagles as related to weather?