April at the Doorstep

March 31, 2021 by Team Journey North

April begins tomorrow and more migratory birds are arriving. Dr. David Aborn provides an update on migration throughout the U.S. And Chuck Henrikson shares his latest birding report from Journey North's home base, the UW–Madison Arboretum. Report observations of Red-winged Blackbirds, Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles, Common Loons, and Barn Swallows to Journey North.

“Barn Swallows feeding around a large irrigation pond.” Photo by: Jay (Taft, TN; 03/26/2021)

Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds

A new week and new arrivals. What migratory bird species is Dr. Aborn observing? And how is weather impacting migration?

“While there have not been large numbers of birds coming in yet, diversity has increased … Here in Tennessee, I have seen my first Blue-headed Vireo, Northern Parula, Black-and-white-Warblers, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers …There are a couple of cold fronts moving across the country. The big story with these fronts is not so much the rain, but the very strong north winds behind them. ”

Read more of Weather Forestcasts for Migrating Songbirds #3

Chuck Henrikson’s Birding Report 

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

“My second sighting, not far from the white pines and on Longenecker Gardens, was a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. This is probably the same pair I saw last Tuesday … In the water at the south end of Gardner Marsh I’ve seen several interesting waterfowl … One of my most favorites is the small Bufflehead.”

Read more of Chuck Henrikson’s birding report #54

Journey North Species

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are moving northeast into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada.

Wayne in Miramichi, NB: “2 Red-winged Blackbirds…spring is here.” (03/23/2021)

Paula in Halifax, NS: “Single male Red-winged Blackbird.” (03/30/2021)

Barn Swallow

After weeks of reports largely based in Texas, Barn Swallows are venturing farther north.

Cass in Renick, WV: “Just saw 4 Barn Swallows feeding over our field. The first sighting of Spring 2021.” (03/25/2021)

Gordon in Cullman, AL: “They [Barn Swallows] finally got back, about a week later than last year.” (03/26/2021)

Joey in Junction City, KS: “One Barn Swallow spent several hours in the afternoon flying around the property. Sunny day, light winds, mid 60’s for temperature.” (03/28/2021)

Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole

It is still early in the season for oriole migration. There are only a few new reports of Baltimore Orioles and no new reports of Bullock’s Orioles. If you look at the maps from 2020, migration really picked up in late April and May. Will this year show the same trend?

Mollie in Seymour, MO: “[Baltimore Oriole] 10 days earlier than last year.” (03/30/2021)

There are other species of orioles besides Baltimore and Bullock’s. If you observe other oriole species, please report under the category All Other Signs of Spring. Check out this observation in Harlingen, Texas:

B A in Harlingen, TX: “Second [Hooded Oriole] in the last 2 weeks. Beautiful.” (03/15/2021)

Common Loon

Loons are returning to the Midwest and Northeast as spring progresses and more ice recedes. Check out the loon and ice-out maps to see how open water coincides with loon arrivals.

Debbie in Nevis, MN: “Yahoooo, they’ve returned! (03/29/2021)

Dick in Gilmanton, NH: “One day after ice out on Shellcamp Pond in Gilmanton, NH, we saw an adult loon back on the pond, fishing near one of the beaches on the pond.” (03/30/2021)

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. Photos are always helpful to properly identify species and verify reports. And please make sure your photo is properly rotated before submitting.