Last Weather and Songbird Migration Report for the Spring 2019 Season

May 22, 2019 by By David Aborn

Last report for Spring 2019. Fall migration is only 3 months away!

Cape May Warbler Banded by Dr. David Aborn (05/22/2019)

Dear Journey North members,

Well, migration is heating up in some places and winding down in others. For the southern half of the US, migration has pretty much ended. There are still some stragglers arriving, but for the most part all the migrants have arrived from the tropics. As a result, there isn’t much to report from many places in the southern half of the country. I did band two species that are uncommon migrants that come through Tennessee; Cape May Warbler and Black-billed Cuckoo. Definitely a nice way to close out spring migration!

While things have been slow in the south, the northern U.S. has been jumping! Southerly winds have prevailed since the end of last week, allowing scores of migrants to reach the northern US. Birders in New York, New Hampshire, Maine, and Illinois reported 15-20 species of warblers, with Magnolia, Warblers, Cape May Warblers, Blackpoll Warblers, Bay-breasted Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, and American Redstarts consistently being the most numerous. The prize, however, goes to Minnesota, where people birding in Locke Park tallied 23 species of warblers, along with Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Gray Catbirds. Tennessee Warblers numbered over 100, and Magnolia Warblers, Bay-breasted Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, and Blackpoll Warblers numbered in the double-digits!

Out west, migration has also ended in many places. Numbers of migrants reported were small through California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Alaska, on the other hand, did report more arrivals of Wilson’s Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Violet-green Swallows.

So, with a final look at the weather, we see there is a high pressure area parked over the southeast, bringing strong southerly winds to much of the eastern US. That means migrants will be able to continue heading north, so we should see a continuation of the numbers reported over the past few days. In the middle of the country, a storm system is bringing terrible weather, with lots of severe storms. Unfortunately, the strong high pressure is keeping that system from moving, so the bad weather will continue for another few days. The storm system is expected to fall apart by the middle of the week, which will allow migrants to start moving again through the middle of the country. Out west, the weather is pretty good right now, with clear skies and calm winds, so migrants should continue heading north until the next front moves in from the Pacific by the middle of the week.

For those of you in the northern U.S., migration is peaking, so you have several more weeks to get out there and enjoy it. In the southern U.S., even though migration might be over, there is still lots to see, as many migrants beginning to breed.

Everyone will want to keep in practice; fall migration in only 3 months away!

Take care.

 David Aborn