Moving into April

April 1, 2022 by Team Journey North

April is here and spring bird migration is gaining momentum. What birds are you noticing? Report your first observations of Baltimore and Bullock's Orioles, Barn Swallows, Common Loons, and Red-winged Blackbirds to Journey North. For other species, use the "All Other Signs of Spring" reporting category.

Palm Warbler in Florida. Photo: Chuck Henrikson

Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds

A new month and new arrivals. What migratory birds is Dr. Aborn observing? And how is weather impacting migration?

“Spring migration has picked up, thanks to some good southerly winds over the past few days … Here in Chattanooga, I saw my first Blue-headed Vireo and Yellow-throated Warbler … The weather forecast looks very similar to last week … Prepare to see lots more birds in the coming weeks!”

Read more of Dr. David Aborn’s 2022 Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds #3»

Chuck Henrikson’s Birding Report

This week, Chuck Henrikson shares some his bird sightings while on vacation in Florida. And he also provides an update on what other birders are seeing back at Journey North’s home base, the UW–Madison Arboretum.

“I’m still in Arboretum South (aka Florida) where the temps are in the 70s and sometimes even warmer … These new arrivals have recently been seen in the Arboretum: Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Phoebes and Tree Swallows …”

Read more of Chuck Henrikson’s birding report #106»

Journey North Species

Baltimore 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 (migratory) Bullock’s Orioles. If you look at the maps from last year, migration significantly picked up in late April and early May for both Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles. Will this year show the same trend?

Diana in Schriever, LA: “This is not my 1st Bullock’s Oriole but he’s been here since 11-16-2021! Last year I had an immature male here at my feeder but not for this long.” (03/24/2022)

Lou in Hilton Head Island, SC: “[Baltimore Oriole] visited my suet feeder.” (03/29/2022)

Farther north in Ontario, one Journey North volunteer appears to have spotted a female or immature Baltimore Oriole. Based on the photo, what do you think?

Carl in Strathroy, ON: “Really early this year … don’t usually see till the first of May.” (03/29/2022)

Barn Swallows

Some Barn Swallows have already ventured into Canada, and wintry weather in certain locations is testing the resilience of these birds.

Don Davis in Windsor, ON: “Submitted by Don Davis: Noted Windsor area birdwatcher, and retired City of Windsor naturalist (Ojibway Nature Centre) reports seeing one barn swallow in the Black Oak Heritage Park on March 29th, 2022. Paul stated: ‘I was surprised to see that bird as I had only seen Tree Swallows so far this spring in Ontario.’ Temperatures for the past few days in Ontario, a polar vortex has brought freezing temperatures, and as low as +21 F on one morning. Temperatures turn warm again tomorrow, so hoping that this barn swallow, which eats insects, survives. Right now…there are none!” (03/29/2022)

Common Loon

From the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, Common Loon migration is picking up. New Hampshire is a particular hotspot of activity. Check out our loon and ice-out maps to see how open water coincides with loon arrivals.

Ran in Point Clear, AL: “Loons on Mobile Bay.” (03/19/2022)

Dick in Gilmanton, NH: “Ice out was yesterday, March 29, 2022. We saw a pair of loons on the open water today, March 30, 2022 at approximately 4:15 p.m. 2 adults.” (03/30/2022)

Joe in Freedom, NH: “There is still some ice on our bay but this morning I spotted the first returning male Loon at the end of the bay near the channel. It was very exciting as we had our first successful Loon hatching on Berry Bay in 46 years last summer !We are hopeful and ready, all Loon Rangers are prepped for duty.” (03/31/2022)

Red-Winged Blackbird

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

Lee in Falmouth, NS: “First male [Red-winged Blackbird].” (03/24/2022)

Wayne in McKinleyville, NB: “Saw 2 Red-winged Blackbirds among a flock of grackles.” (03/26/2022)

Report Observations and Include Photos

Report your first observations of Red-winged Blackbirds, Barn Swallows, Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles, and Common Loons. For other species, use the “All Other Signs of Spring” reporting category. 

If possible, include photos in your reports (one photo per report). 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. Give it a try!