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Weather Forecast for the Birds
April 6, 2000

Dear Students:
Contributed by Dr. David Aborn

That front I talked about in my March 16 update brought in quite a few migrants. From Texas to Florida, people were reporting warblers, vireos, and even the first orioles! Here in Tennessee and north Georgia, where I am monitoring migration at an area called Lula Lake, I saw lots of Louisiana Waterthrushes and Black-and-white Warblers.

More recently, another strong front moved across the country. This was the system that brought those terrible storms and tornados to Fort Worth, TX. The rains and strong north winds associated with the cold front forced many migrants to land. The Texas coast reported 14 species of warblers on April 2! Mississippi and Alabama reported 6 species of warblers, including Black-throated-green Warblers, Kentucky Warblers, and Hooded warblers, along with Red-eyed Vireos and Eastern Wood-pewees. The front stalled when it reached Georgia and Tennessee, and it rained all day Sunday, Monday, and part of Tuesday (7 inches of rain!). I was out this morning and saw quite a variety of birds, including the first Worm-eating Warblers and Scarlet Tanagers. I suspect tomorrow will be even better as more of the birds that were grounded on the Gulf coast arrive in this area. The winds are shifting to the south already, so it is good flying weather.

The Weather Channel

So what about this week and next week? Well, another cold front is moving across the country. While it is not as strong as the last one, the north winds behind it spell bad news for migrants. Texas and Louisiana should see some more good birding Thursday and Friday, Mississippi and Alabama should have good days Friday and Saturday, and I should see an increase in birds after the front passes here this weekend. Migration is really starting to pick up, so get out there with your binoculars! Until next time, think about this; how high do you think a bird flies when it migrates?

Take care.


Dr. David Aborn
Ornithologist, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Tennesse at Chattanooga


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