Get Your Binoculars Ready!

April 20, 2023 by Team Journey North

Peak spring migration is approaching in certain areas. Dr. David Aborn provides news on bird migration throughout the U.S. in this week's update. What migratory bird species are you observing? Remember to report to Journey North!

First Red-Winged Blackbird of the Season
Photo: Ken in Lethbridge, AB (04/18/2023)

Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds

As May approaches, how is spring bird migration progressing? Dr. David Aborn shares the latest news:

It finally feels like migration season! Good flying conditions have allowed a plethora of migrants to arrive from the tropics. There have been two high-pressure areas that have been parked over the southern US and those southerly winds have allowed a lot of migration to take place. . . There was also a lot of movement out west, as well…  All these birds had better keep going while they can, because some big changes are about to occur.”

Read more in Dr. David Aborn’s 2023 Weather Forecasts & Migrating Songbirds Report #4»

Journey North Species

Baltimore Oriole and Bullock’s Oriole

Last year, reports of Baltimore Orioles started picking up in late April. Will this year follow the same trend? Check out our map and report your first Baltimore Oriole observation!

Stacey in Creal Springs, IL: “Saw my first male on 4/18 and now today 4/19 I have seen 2 males. I had my jelly out and now have added my live mealworms.” (04/18/2023)

B in Ballwin, MO: “Just a single male at around 7:00AM.” (04/19/2023)

In Texas, a Bullock’s Oriole observation provides delight.

Michelle in South Padre Island, TX: “Bullocks Oriole eating on the bottlebrush tree at South Padre Island Convention Center, TX.
Beautiful!” (04/14/2023)

Red-Winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are still claiming territories and making steady progress north through Canada.

Laura in Kleefeld, MB: “1 male Red-Winged Blackbird seen at my deck checking out the seed & suet feeders.” (04/14/2023)

Christine in Swanson, SK: “A flock of about twenty male red-wings landed in our yard this afternoon.” (04/18/2023)

Barn Swallows

While not as far north as Red-winged Blackbirds, Barn Swallows are beginning to arrive closer to Canada. Some Journey North volunteers are noting that Barn Swallow migration appears to be behind last year’s pace.

Marty in Raynham, MA: “5 days later than last year but 3 swallows in the barn this am was a good sight. One pair that was checking out an active nest from last year and another male checking out a different nest. Looking forward to another banner year of fledglings.” (04/18/2023)

Barbara in Ferndale, WA: “The swallows are busy inside the stable working on their nests. Soon they’ll be in the barn as well. Yay…” (04/19/2023)

Common Loon

As spring progresses and ice-out events expand northward, Journey North volunteers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and parts of Canada are welcoming back Common Loons.

Debbie in Nevis, MN: “We’re probably a couple weeks away from ice out but our north shore is open.” (04/12/2023)

Christina in Township Of Minden Hills, ON: “Mated pair of loons noted landing while the ice was going out on the lake. They are still here.” (04/13/2023)

Matt in Township Of Severn, ON: “Multiple morning calls on the north end of Lake Couchiching.” (04/14/2023)

Keep Reporting and Include Photos

Are you noticing your first Baltimore and Bullock’s Oriole, Barn Swallow, Common Loon, or Red-winged Blackbird of the season? Remember to report your observations. And if you observe other bird species, please report under the category All Other Signs of Spring. If possible, include photos (one photo per report). Photos help verify reports, and we enjoy sharing them with our Journey North community!