Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds #3


Published: 03/31/2021

Dear Journey North Readers,

Spring migration has picked up. Southerly winds have helped push migratory birds along. After stormy weather during the middle and end of last week, skies have been clear. Southerly winds and clear skies are perfect flying conditions. While there have not been large numbers of birds coming in yet, diversity has increased. Hooded Warblers, Black-throated-green Warblers, White-eyed Vireos, and Great Crested Flycatchers were seen in Louisiana. Worm-eating Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, and White-eyed Vireos were seen along the Alabama coast. Here in Tennessee, I have seen my first Blue-headed Vireo, Northern Parula, Black-and-white-Warblers, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The southerly winds have been strong enough to allow Yellow-throated Warblers to make it into Maryland. And Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Black-and-white Warblers reached Oklahoma. There was less movement out west, but Violet-green Swallows made it as far as Oregon. Lucy’s Warblers and Western Kingbirds were observed in Southern California.

How is migration shaping up for this coming week? If you look at the weather map, 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. The Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee may get some snow on Thursday, and that is no April Fools! In the southern US, Migrating birds will have about one more day to make progress north before those winds force them to land. It could be a good weekend for birding in the south – dust off your binoculars! The eastern half of the US will have poor weather for migration. Out west,  I expect to see a lot of arrivals over the next few days as there will be clear skies and southerly winds.

It is still early, but spring migration is starting to get exciting. Keep your eyes open! Take care.

David Aborn