Local News: April 11, 2024

- Former Cornell student who threatened Jewish campus community pleads guilty -

The former Cornell undergraduate who posted violent, antisemitic threats against the Jewish campus community pleaded guilty in the federal court in Syracuse on Wednesday. WRVO Public Radio reports Patrick Dai admitted to “posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications.” Under a plea agreement, his sentence could be 15-21 months unless hate crime charges are added. He will be sentenced on August 12. He’s being held without bail in the custody of the U.S. Marshall Service in Broome County.

UPDATE: Birds and the eclipse

Last week, I spoke with Andrew Farnsworth, a scientist with Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology. He studies bird migrations. We talked again Thursday morning for an update. 

Farnsworth said scientists in the path of totality from Texas to Maine were looking at radar data and comparing it to what they saw during the 2017 eclipse. He said the findings are preliminary.

"Boy, the pattern is very strikingly just what we saw in 2017. So, the light levels that changed and the temperature drops and so on were enough to stop flying animals from doing their daytime activities. So that includes, probably hawks and vultures and things soaring, they come out of the sky and they start to roost. Day-flying insects start to descend. And the dip that we saw was very striking," he said.

Farnsworth said birds usually start their migratory behavior 30-45 minutes after sunset. He said scientists wondered if they might see more of that this time of year because birds are moving to their annual breeding grounds. 

"We were just hopeful that we would get data and we’d be able to analyze it and there would be a cool pattern. And there is, so very exciting," he said.

Farnsworth said this is only the second time scientists have followed bird behavior like this during an eclipse.


Finally, a personal note: I’m recording this on Thursday, April 11 and it’s my last day at WRFI. I’ll still be in the area doing some new reporting projects.

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