Moving into April

April 6, 2023 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.

Baltimore Oriole
Photo: Una in Virginia Beach, VA (03/24/2023)

Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds

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

“They say that if March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb. Well, apparently March 2023 didn’t get the memo because it came in like a lion and went out the same way! ”

Read Dr. David Aborn’s 2023 Weather Forecasts & Migrating Songbirds Report #2»

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?

Larry in Bemus Point, NY: “Heard him Tuesday morning (3/28), but couldn’t see him. Spotted him this afternoon (3/29) high in a tree in the backyard.” (03/29/2023)

Una in Virginia Beach, VA: “Baltimore Oriole in changing plumage in Crab Apple tree buds. This is one of a small flock that have been overwintering in our garden…” (03/24/2023)

Barn Swallows

Wintry weather in certain locations is testing the resilience of these birds though some of our observers noted earlier-than-usual observations.

Stacy in Allen, TX: “This is our third year for these two barn swallows…They arrived about five days earlier than last year and have moved in to their nest on our back patio.” (03/28/2023)

Brandy in Rockaway Township, NJ: “I was surprised how early they were.” (03/26/2023)

Common Loon

From the mid-Atlantic United States north to Ontario, Common Loon migration is picking up. Check out our loon and ice-out maps to see how open water coincides with loon arrivals.

Gina in Lake Geneva, WI: “I heard the loon calling loudly on Geneva Lake. Grabbed my camera. Water very calm. There were 2 loons diving” (04/03/2023)

Don in Port Hope, ON: “Reported by Don Davis: Katherine Love reported to this writer that she was surprised to find this common loon in a small pond connected to the A. K. Sculthorpe Marsh on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Port Hope, Ontario. With southerly winds, a number of newly arrived spring migrants arrived in southern Ontario this weekend, including turkey vultures.” (04/02/2023)

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are moving toward the northeastern United States and into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada.

Blakae in Saint Martins Parish, NB: “Large flock of all male red wing blackbirds mixed with grackles at bird feeder” (03/28/2023)

Christine in Ottawa, ON: “Perched in cedar hedge. I have had red winged blackbird sightings for about a week now.” (04/01/2023)

Report Observations and Include Photos

This spring, remember to 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!

April is Citizen Science Month!

At Journey North, we celebrate our volunteers who submit thousands of observational reports about migratory species and seasonal changes in our various project categories. Join us this month — and all year long — by reporting your observations to Journey North!