March 7, 2007
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:
Last week I told you how to read a weather map (revisit his lesson >>) and how weather affects bird migration. I mentioned that there was a strong cold front moving across the country, and as it did so the storms ahead of it and north winds behind it would force birds to land. Well, that prediction held up. While it is still too early to see large fallouts or a great diversity of species, there were still signs that migration is underway.

The Migration is Underway!

Common Yellowthroat
Northern Parula

Swallows were the most numerous sightings, with over 200 Tree Swallows being seen in California on March 1st, along with a few Violet-green Swallows. Tree Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows were seen in New Mexico, and Arizona had a couple of the early warblers with a Louisiana Waterthrush and a Black-and-white Warbler being seen.

As the front moved east over the next couple of days, migrant sightings continued all along the Gulf coast. Louisiana had some more early warblers; a Yellow-throated Warbler and a Northern Parula. They also reported a very early Great-crested Flycatcher. Florida had Barn Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and also reported some early Great-crested Flycatchers. Here in Tennessee, there were swallow reports all over the state, and a Common Yellowthroat was seen in the Nashville area. I know there are more migrants where these came from!

What Will the Weather Bring this Week?
So what does this week hold in store? Well, the cold front that came through last week is stalled and is expected to move back north as a warm front. This means southerly winds and the dry conditions mean clear skies, which all adds up to good flying weather.

Weather Map for Mar. 6, 2007
Credit: Weather .com

Many of the birds that landed after the cold front will be able continue migrating north, so I expect that the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions will start seeing a few migrants, especially swallows. Areas farther south can expect to see more migrants arriving from the tropics, but no fallouts. There is another front that is moving in from the Pacific later this week, but it is not a strong one. There will be some rain and northerly winds, which will still cause some birds to land, but it will not be a major event. Nonetheless, migration picking up, so there will more and more to see over the coming weeks. It is an exciting time of year!

Take Care,

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN