Spring is here and migration is gaining momentum. What bird species are you noticing? Report observations of Red-winged Blackbirds, Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles, Common Loons, and Barn Swallows to Journey North.
Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds
Spring is here. What migratory bird species is Dr. Aborn observing? And how is weather impacting migration?
“It is officially spring. But spring migration is still just a trickle….If you look at the weather map for this week, a powerful storm system is moving across the middle of the country. This system is expected to bring strong storms, especially to Mississippi and Alabama. When storm systems like this happen, they can create what’s known as a fallout.”
Chuck Henrikson’s Birding Report
What new arrivals is Chuck observing? Find out in his latest birding report from Journey North’s home base, the UW–Madison Arboretum.
“On my walk this morning in the main part of the Arboretum and at the southern part of Gardner Marsh I picked up two new species for the year, often referred to as “First of Year” species or abbreviated as FOY species. I saw both of them on Longenecker Gardens. They were a single Tree Swallow which flew over me and two Golden-crowned Kinglets which were searching for food in one of the specimen trees.”
Journey North Species
Reports of Red-winged Blackbirds are largely concentrated in the Midwest and Northeast, although observations are picking up in Ontario.
Pat in Grey Highlands, ON: ”Dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds have returned & eating all my seed.” (03/16/2021)
Susan in Dennis, MA: “Happy to see male and female Red-winged Blackbirds in the back garden.” (03/17/2021)
Linda in Bloomer, WI: “Two Red-winged Blackbirds came up onto our deck to enjoy the suet feeders while we were eating breakfast this morning! They’re the first ones we’ve seen this year! (We’re about 4 mi NW of Bloomer, WI)” (03/21/2021)
Texas remains the current migration hotspot for Barn Swallows. Only a few reports are coming in farther north.
Carol in Hickory, NC: “One [Barn Swallow] flew under the river bridge and into its mud nest.” (03/12/2021)
Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole
Distinguishing between Baltimore, Bullock’s, and other species of orioles can be difficult. Photos always help.
In Virginia, Maria shared a photo of what is perhaps a Bullock’s Oriole. This species is normally found in the western US, but it is not unheard of to find vagrants out east. Based on the photo, what do you think?
Peggy in Orange, VA: “[Bullock’s Oriole] seen in my yard at approximately 11:30 am on 03/16/2021.”
Slightly farther north in Pennsylvania, Maria wonders if she spotted an immature Baltimore Oriole. Again, based on the photo, what do you think?
Maria in Allentown, PA: “I believe the picture is of a young male Baltimore Oriole but it seems very early for one to have returned to eastern Pennsylvania. He was originally perched on my bird feeder to get out of the rain.” (03/18/2021)
Common Loons are back in the Midwest! It will not be long before their iconic calls echo throughout the landscape.
M in Pekin, IL: “First sighting of migrating Loon approximately 3:30 pm. Conditions have been rainy all day, wind NNE 19 mph. We are lucky to see the Loons each spring & fall.” (03/18/2021)
Report Observations and Include Photos
Keep reporting Red-winged Blackbird, Barn Swallow, Baltimore and Bullock’s Oriole, and Common Loon observations to Journey North. If possible, include photos in your reports. As highlighted in this week’s oriole reports, photos are always helpful to properly identify species and verify reports. However, birds are not always cooperative subjects. One potential workaround is to take a video and then extract a screenshot to use as a photo. Learn more in the tutorials below: