Daily Distraction: Get into spring migration with BirdCast

Use these online tools to help you track migratory bird traffic in Central Ohio

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
A grosbeak and an oriole enjoy an orange in this photo captured by reader Janie Ferguson.

It's the most wonderful time of the year — spring migration!

If you're a birder in Ohio, the month of May is peak time for walks in the woods and long spells of staring out the window to look for all manner of warblers and other migratory birds making their way north. In the last couple of weeks, I've made a habit of parking myself and my laptop at the dining room table with a set of binoculars to see what visitors come to the backyard bird feeders (I'm up to seven now). While the warblers are a bit too tiny to see in the tops of trees, I've watched orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks and other birds, including a first-time mockingbird visitor.

More:The List: Ranking typical Columbus bird feeder birds

Anyway, if you want to be a dork like me but are new to the whole migration thing, BirdCast has some tools to help. A collaboration among Cornell Lab, Colorado State University and UMass Amherst, BirdCast offers a few bird migration tools, including migration forecast maps that show predicted nocturnal migration three hours after local sunset and are updated every six hours, as well as local bird migration alerts, which will give you real-time, local analysis of bird migration traffic as detected by radar when you enter Columbus as the city.

Happy birding!

More:Letter of Recommendation: Birds