15790Moonwatch results, Tujunga
- Apr 15, 2014
[First, my thanks to those who took part in watching for migrating birds passing the face of the full moon and my apologies to those of you who made an effort but failed to see any birds. I assume the negative results stem from the patchy nature of bird movement over our area, though there is also something of a learning curve involved in looking for those tiny flapping shapes. Also, if the scope isn’t zoomed in enough to make the moon nearly fill the field of view, a lot of small specks can be missed. So I hope scopes weren’t set at their lowest power (and, needless to say, just using a binocular is entirely useless for this endeavor.]
I watched from 10:00-10:32 p.m. the night of 14 April for a total of 30 minutes (yes, I took two minutes to rest my eyes). A total of 29 birds (most or all were small-to-medium passerines by shape and flight style) passed the moon, for a rate of 0.97 birds per minute. Apart from a couple of loose groups of 2-3, most were lone individuals. The total doesn’t include the Barn Owl that called as it flew over, or the mockingbird that wouldn’t shut up. Direction of travel was mainly from WNW to NNW (roughly 6:00 to 12:00 on the moon face), with one or two birds going closer to due west and another one or two closer to due north.
During the full eclipse (~12:15 a.m.) I didn’t see any birds – I assume the darker moon face doesn’t provide the needed contrast to see birds, although it’s also possible that by that time birds are flying higher and less likely to be perceived.
We’ll try again in May if we have cloud-free conditions.
Kimball L. Garrett
Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA