Signs of Spring

March 3, 2021 by Team Journey North

Day length is slowly increasing and temperatures are rising. Spring is near! And while the pace of migration is still slow, that's normal during the early stages of the season. Report your first observations of Red-winged Blackbirds, Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles, Common Loons, and Barn Swallows to Journey North.

“First Red-winged Blackbird of the season at my feeder today, 2/28/21.” Photo by: Mary (Kenosha, WI)

Journey North Species

Red-Winged Blackbird

An early arriving migratory species, Red-winged Blackbirds are already being observed in the Upper Midwest. Explore our maps to see how their migratory trajectory compares to other species.

Sharon in Hudson, IN: “Nice to see the red-wings.. We had at least 20 today.” (02/25/2021)

Doreen in Troy, MI: “So excited to see these guys enjoying seeds that feel to the ground from the bird feeder. Usually they aren’t here until mid-March” (02/28/2021)

Barn Swallow

Reports of Barn Swallows are coming in from the Southwest and Texas. Tom in Yuma, Arizona witnessed a spectacular migratory event:

Tom in Yuma, AZ: “Right at sunset the Sky filled with Barn Swallows in all directions and moving north. Thousands of birds feeding from ground level to thousands of feet up. Most spectacular bird event I’ve ever witnessed. Unforgettable!” (02/27/2021)

 Katherine in Pearland, TX: “Barn swallow investigating a nest.” (02/27/2021)

Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole

This early in the season, Baltimore and Bullock’s Oriole reports are few and far between. But one lucky reporter observed both species in her backyard:

Diana in Schriever, LA: “Bullock’s Oriole and Baltimore Oriole still here throughout the day feeding on sugar water hummer feeders in my backyard. They always come to feeder at the same time. First time ever here!” (02/16/2021)

Common Loon

No new reports of Common Loons. Loons can be difficult to spot and properly identify. Here’s a helpful resource:

Chuck Henrikson’s Birding Report 

What species is Chuck observing? Find out in his latest birding report from Journey North’s home base, the UW–Madison Arboretum.

“What do warm temps and south breezes mean this time of year? That’s right, migrating birds from the south hopping on the winds and heading north.”

Read more of Chuck Henrikson’s birding report #50»

Weather Resource

Check out to explore a live, interactive global weather map. This great resource provides detailed current and future weather information so you can stay up to speed on when migratory songbirds may be arriving.

Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds

Dr. Aborn’s Dr. Aborn’s weekly Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds reports will return soon – stay tuned!