Migration in Full Swing

April 14, 2021 by Team Journey North

Peak migration is approaching in certain areas. 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. What species are you noticing? Report your observations to Journey North.

“I can hear them [Baltimore Orioles] before I see them. There were 2 or 3 calling to each other, but I only saw one.” Photo by: Carolyn (Eufaula, OK; 04/09/2021)

Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds

Peak spring migration in certain areas is approaching. What species is Dr. Aborn observing? And how is weather impacting migration?

“Spring migration is in full swing now. We are approaching peak migration in some areas … Some of the new arrivals included Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, Red-eyed Vireos, Summer Tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, and Orchard Orioles … The coming week looks interesting. A cold front moving through the middle of the country will bring a lot of rain along the Gulf Coast. The rain, combined with decent north winds behind it, means the first significant fallout of the season may occur.”

Read more of Weather Forestcasts for Migrating Songbirds #5

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.

“The weatherman said colder temps are coming and something about possible flurries tomorrow night. What! It can’t be. We are in spring and birds are migrating. We cannot welcome them with flurries. I hope the weatherman is wrong … This week I saw my FOY (first of year) Barn Swallow over at Red Wing Marsh at the southeast side of Lake Wingra. Many Tree Swallows were flying over Lake Wingra catching insects. They are dark blue to black above and white below. As I watch them fly around there was one that was sort of orange and rust below. That was the Barn Swallow.”

Read more of Chuck Henrikson’s birding report #56

Journey North Species

Red-Winged Blackbird

Journey North observers in Canada are reporting flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds, even as signs of winter remain.

Sharon in Lorne, MB: “Flock of Red-wings joined the Juncos scratching for feed in our front yard through our nasty weather today.” (04/12/2021)

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallows have an extensive range. It was just a few weeks ago that most reports were concentrated in Texas. Now, they are already as far North as Oregon.

Steve in Roseburg, OR: Two Barn Swallows returning to nesting site.” (04/10/2021)

Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole

Baltimore Orioles are venturing into the Midwest and southern Ontario. No new reports of Bullock’s Orioles. If you see or hear Bullock’s Orioles, please report your observations to Journey North.

Judy in Mansfield, OH: “A Male Baltimore Oriole feeding under my feeder.” (04/11/2021)

Nancy in Petrolia, ON: “Male at the oriole feeder. He may have come through rain as there are grey clouds and he looked as if he’s been in the birdbath. 3:00 p.m. daylight savings time.” (04/12/2021)

Common Loon

Common Loons often return to the same lake year after year. Journey North observers in Wisconsin and Ontario are welcoming return visitors.

Michael in Town of Mercer, WI: “A single loon was spotted directly behind out house on Catherine Lake near Mercer, WI. It was exactly one year ago today when we spotted our first loon of the season. They are like clockwork.” (04/10/2021)

Kathy in Seguin, ON: “This loon has graced our lake for the past 3 years … Today is the 1st sighting, so we look forward to the parents’ return soon as well.” (04/12/2021)

April is Citizen Science Month!

Citizen Science Month encompasses online events and opportunities to contribute to citizen science initiatives from home. This April, Journey North celebrates our citizen scientists and encourages others to join this important effort. Watch our Journey North video to learn how to participate. And learn more about Citizen Science Month and other Journey North projects here.

Report Observations and Include Photos

Keep reporting Red-winged Blackbird, Barn Swallow, Baltimore and Bullock’s Oriole, and Common Loon observations to Journey North. And if you observe other bird species, please report under the category All Other Signs of Spring. If possible, include photos in your reports – – we have not received many with photos. Photos help verify reports.