About the Oriole Migration Study


When the oriole returns to its nest in your backyard this spring, it will have just completed a remarkable round trip journey to Central America and back! Plot the oriole's return journey and learn what it takes for this--and other species of "neotropical migrants"--to successfully complete this amazing flight. Neotropical migrants are birds that breed in North America and winter south of the U.S. border. An amazing 333 bird species are neotropical migrants!

Our story begins with reports from the neotropical migrants' wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. As songbirds cross the Gulf of Mexico on their annual nonstop flight, we'll explore the effect of weather on migration with bi-weekly weather reports and analysis from Dr. David Aborn. As the journey continues, students across North America will report backyard sightings when the orioles return. We will analyze data and explore the physiology of flight. We'll delve into the mysteries of migration and learn about population dynamics, nest building, and conservation issues. And we'll discover some ways we can help orioles and other neotropical migrants survive.

Report your sightings to Journey North

What to Report to Journey North

1. Oriole Feeder UP
Report when your Oriole feeder is up.
As soon as you place your oriole feeder outside, report to Journey North. Now you're ready to watch for your first orioles!

2. First Oriole
Report the FIRST Oriole you see this spring.
Let us know when your Oriole safely arrives after the long migration from Central America.

3. Leaf-out of Trees
Report "leaf-out" of your trees. Here's why: For many songbird species, the timing of spring migration may be related to leaf-out. This is because when leaves emerge, so do lots of insects. Songbirds may fuel their migration by following the leaf-out and eating the millions of insects available at that time. With your help, we'd like to test whether these spring events are inter-related.

4. First Nest-building
Report when you first see Orioles building their nest.
Usually the females are seen flying with nesting materials such as plant fibers or string.