More Species Arriving

March 25, 2020 by Team Journey North

A brief window of good weather over the past weekend has led to the arrival of more migratory bird species throughout the United States. Read David Aborn's letter as well as a new feature of our Weather & Songbirds News Update.

These tiny, active Black-throated Green Warblers are easy to recognize, thanks to a dark black throat, bright yellow face, and its “zoo zee zoo zoo zee” song. They winter in Central America and the northern part of South America. After a long migration north, they breed in Canada and parts of the eastern U.S. Photo: Silver Leapers (CC BY 2.0)

Missing Your Flock?

Do you join with others to bird at local nature centers, arboretums, botanical gardens or other natural areas? Because of the public health crisis, do you miss gathering with your own “flock” of birders? While many of our interactions and movements are restricted, we can continue to be birders and citizen scientists in our own backyards or perhaps other natural areas.

To inspire you, we have introduced a new feature this week: a birding report from right here at Journey North’s new home, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. Chuck Henrikson, a self-described bird enthusiast and avid supporter of citizen science projects, has hiked the trails of the Arboretum for years. Chuck participates in several citizen science projects. When he spots his first Red-winged Blackbird of the season, for example, he enters his report into Journey North as well as into eBird (a generalized online database of bird observations).

There is just something about birding in community. Together, you can learn to identify more birdcalls and bird markings. Given today’s need for social-distancing, Chuck still ventures out regularly but now on his own or with only one or two other birders…and he still reports his sightings to Journey North and eBird. This week, we share his report with the entire Journey North community. 

We hope both David Aborn’s letter and Chuck Henrikson’s birding report will boost your sense of community no matter where you are.

Letter From Dr. Aborn

Dear Journey North Readers,

Things have not changed much from last week. Rain continued except for a brief window of good weather for birds over the weekend. Migratory birds took advantage of that window, and there was an influx of new species. Some of the species that were already here were able to make some progress north. Louisiana Waterthrushes made their first appearance in Maryland. Tree Swallows arrived in New York. Birders in South Carolina reported their first Louisiana Waterthrushes, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Black-and-white Warblers, Black-throated-green Warblers, and Yellow-throated Warblers. Black-and-white Warblers and Black-throated-green Warblers have also arrived in Tennessee. Along the Gulf coast, from Alabama through Texas,  good numbers of Hooded Warblers, Prothonotary Warblers, Northern Parulas, Yellow-throated Vireos, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Western Kingbirds were all reported. After a couple of days of rain out west during the middle of last week, migratory species were on the move again. One birder in Arizona reported hundreds of Tree Swallows, along with decent numbers of Hooded Orioles, Lucy’s Warblers, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, and Western Kingbirds. Western Kingbirds were also a common sight in California, along with Rufous Hummingbirds.

What does the coming week look like? If you look at the weather map, for much of the eastern US right now, you guessed it…more rain! That means all those species I mentioned are grounded for a couple of days. Once the front that is bringing all the rain passes by in another day or two, there will be 3-4 days of clear skies and light winds; I expect a lot of movement. The front has already cleared the Midwest and Great Plains. Flying conditions and birding should be good there for the next few days. In both the Southwest and Northwest, rain is moving in from the Pacific, which will put a lid on migration for a few days.

As I mentioned last week, it may be difficult to go birding, but not impossible. Migration will continue to pick up in the coming weeks. Enjoy it as best as you can! Take care.

David Aborn

Chuck Henrikson’s Birding Report From UW-Madison Arboretum 

“Sometimes birding is all about timing — being at the right place at the right time.” Read Chuck’s birding report from the Arboretum.

Report Your Sightings

Did you know that you can submit your sightings for Barn Swallows, Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles, American Loons and Red-winged Blackbirds? Go to the Journey North sightings page and under the ‘Select Species or Event‘ dropdown menu, select ’Barn Swallow’, ‘Oriole’,  ‘Loon’ or ‘Red-Winged Blackbird’. If you are seeing other songbirds or species not listed, select ‘All Other Signs of Spring’ under the dropdown menu.

From Montgomery, TX: Katy shared, “The swallows returned to their old nest on 3-15. They are happily working on getting ready for the the first clutch.” (03/15/2020)

From Escondido, CA: Linda observed a male Bullock’s Oriole, “feeding at my grape jelly feeder.” (03/16/2020)

From Hudson, IN: Sharon noted, “we have two [Loons] on Story Lake now.” (03/18/2020)

From Milford, MI: Diane said, “Hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds sighted and heard in the vicinity of the Kensington Metropark visitor center and along the marsh boardwalk.” (03/22/2020)