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Waterfowl Alert Network Project

Project Overview

Waterfowl Alert Network

A weather surveillance radar with clouds and a flock of birds in the background.
A weather surveillance radar with clouds and a flock of birds in the background.
As part of an ongoing USDA grant and in collaboration with the University of Delaware and the U.S. Geological Survey, our lab is working on an interactive web-based tool called the Waterfowl Alert Network. 

Our goal is to provide chicken farmers with a tool that notifies them when waterfowl aka “avian influenza reservoirs” are in close proximity to their farms. We hope the notifications will help farmers elevate their biosecurity in a strategic manner, especially during an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). Details on how to sign up for notifications coming soon. 

As the name implies, the tool tracks waterfowl movement. What makes it unique is that we can monitor waterfowl roosting presence, absence, and even density using a combination of weather radar stations, satellite imagery, and other ground-based weather sensing instruments. As an example, when dense groups of waterfowl like mallard ducks and northern pintails participate in synchronized flights, weather surveillance radars can detect these bird movements in a similar fashion to the detection of raindrops!

Right now the tracker only covers the Central Valley of California. But our plan is to make one for the Mid-Atlantic coast, where there are also a lot of commercial poultry farms.

2022 HPAI Map

Here is a map by our lab manager, Brock Riggs. He mapped out 2022 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza cases and the radars in those areas that could potentially be used for waterfowl tracking. Last updated August 25, 2022.