National Geographic has created a series of data visualizations illustrating how migratory birds make their thousand-mile flights to follow the “green wave”—the seasonal growth of vegetation around the planet. The maps demonstrate how the birds often take the most direct path, despite the prevalence of storms and predators, to conserve energy. The animations combine satellite data, models of bird abundance from the the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and crowdsourced observations from birdwatchers.
Tracking the Journeys of Migratory Birds
Michael McLaughlin is a research assistant at the Center for Data Innovation. He previously worked at Oracle and held internships at USA TODAY and in local government. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, Michael graduated from Wake Forest University, where he majored in Communication with Minors in Politics and International Affairs and Journalism. He is currently pursuing his Master’s in Communication at Stanford University, specializing in Data Journalism.