Celebrating Migration While Helping Unravel the Mystery of Bird Movement


Be part of the incredible journey of migration. Inspire hope and bridge international boundaries. Become a Journey North citizen scientist and be a voice for migratory birds. As bird numbers are plummeting, your voice is needed more than ever.

Through open participation, data collection, and awareness building, Journey North works to secure a healthier, more sustainable future for migratory birds by engaging the public in the collective effort to document seasonal migration.

I love everything about your site. I post Barn Swallow, Hummingbird and Oriole sightings. Plus, I love to read other people’s sightings and pictures on all the maps. It helps to get through a long winter, to read what others see in warmer areas.

– Heather, Journey North Citizen Scientist

Open to All—Open participation and inclusivity are key aspects of Journey North. Anyone can join. You do not need an advanced science degree – only curiosity and an eagerness to observe the world around you. Across North America, Journey North citizen scientists report phenological observations for many migratory species including Ruby-throated and Rufous Hummingbirds as well as Anna’s, Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Costa’s and Calliope Hummingbirds. Other focal species include Baltimore and Bullock’s Orioles, American Robins, Common Loons, Barn Swallows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Bald Eagles.

“Modern technology and human efforts = natural progress. It’s cool (and rewarding) to connect with and experience results, both national and local, of the efforts of fellow citizens: a community of cooperation.”

– Chris, Journey North Citizen Scientist

Contributing Data—Migratory birds need each of us to plant and protect habitat whether in our back yards or public spaces. These “patches of the planet” collectively create habitat corridors that provide food and shelter to migratory birds during stop overs and breeding. Are migratory birds finding enough food and shelter that match their migration timeline? To answer this and other questions, we need many people across North America to help track migration. Professional scientists alone cannot gather the amount of data necessary for comprehensive analyses. Cue citizen science. Journey North citizen scientists help fill knowledge gaps.

Journey North provides easy to use methods to report phenological observations, view maps, take pictures and leave comments. Observations are mapped in real-time as waves of migrations – arrivals in the spring and departures in the fall – move across the continent. Your individual observations become location pins on the maps and provide information such as date, time and behavioral observations. Taken as a whole, these individual location pins create largescale illustrations of migration patterns.

“A rhythmic ecological treasure. That is our take from studying the migration timing & patterns.”

– Pat & Perry, Journey North Citizen Scientists

Greater Awareness—Effective conservation depends on a passionate, informed, and engaged public. As volunteers learn more about the migratory species they track, these same volunteers become advocates indeed voices — for the migratory species they come to love and understand. Journey North publishes regular news updates tracking the front lines of migration. During spring migration, Dr. David Aborn, an Ornithologist and Assistant Professor of Biology, Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, writes weekly Weather Forecasts for Migrating Songbirds reports to predict when people may see migratory songbirds traveling through their area. Weather has a huge impact on migratory birds. Dr. Aborn explains how to read a weather map and how general features such as fronts, pressure centers, and wind affect migration. His reports also shed light on the amazing diversity of migratory birds by highlighting species that he and other birders are encountering.

Sparking a connection to nature and building awareness extends to the classroom. Connecting to and learning about nature is important for anyone, but particularly so for youth. Journey North has an abundance of educational resources and activities to inspire the next generation of citizen scientists to care for and appreciate the natural world. Check out the Journey North website for fun, project-based activities.

“By viewing the Journey North migration maps, I have learned what time of year to start getting excited about this marvel of nature! Seeing the maps, and knowing when species are approaching my area, prompts me to start sending out social media notices to my entire community.”

– Debra, Journey North Citizen Scientist

Join Us—As peak spring migration arrives in North America, join our Journey North community as we celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Share your appreciation of migratory birds and raise awareness on what needs to be done to protect them. During these challenging times, nature can bring us together. No matter our location, we are all connected through the joy brought upon by migratory birds: the vibrant orange Baltimore Oriole visiting your feeder for the first time in spring; the Ruby-throated Hummingbird buzzing around a pollinator garden at a local park; or the stunning red eyes of a Common Loon staring back at you across a lake. Whatever that joy may be for you, sharing your observations can improve our collective understanding of migration and how species respond to variation in weather conditions and changes in habitat availability. Every observation matters.

We look forward to connecting with you. Happy World Migratory Bird Day and may you find peace and comfort in nature.

Journey North, a program of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, is one of the largest and longest standing citizen science programs in North America. Founded in 1995, Journey North’s mission is to engage an audience across North America in tracking migration and seasonal change to foster scientific understanding, environmental awareness and the land ethic.