March 12, 2008
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

Migration is starting to pick up. The front I talked about last week kept birds grounded, but not for long. After just a day or two, the skies cleared and winds shifted to the south, allowing a new wave of migrants to arrive. Over the weekend, birders along the Alabama coast reported lots of Barn Swallows and Northern Parulas, along with the first Yellow-throated Warblers, Yellow-throated Vireos, and Black-and-white Warblers. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds continue to arrive in Texas, along with their first Black-and white Warblers, and the first Prothonotary Warblers showed up in Louisiana. During my trip to South Carolina, we ran into some new migrants: a small flock of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a Blue-headed Vireo. The southerly winds also allowed migrants that were already around to continue their migration, with New Jersey reporting their first Tree Swallows.

Migration also picked up in the Western US. New Mexico saw Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Violet-green Swallows, while Arizona reported Black-chinned Hummingbirds. Birders in southern California saw Black-throated-gray Warblers, Summer Tanagers, and Nashville Warblers.

What to Expect This Week
So will things be just as good this week? Take a look at the weather map:

  • A front is developing in the upper Great Plains. This front will bring more rains to the Gulf coast and eastern US over the weekend. Until then, there are strong southerly winds that will allow migrants to arrive without any problems.
  • Once the weekend gets here, however, those birds will be forced to land.
  • Once the skies clear, the winds behind the front won't be too strong, so the birds should be able to quickly get on their way. They had better make good time, because another front will be moving in Monday and Tuesday.

More and more birds should be arriving over the next couple of weeks, so
don't miss out on the fun!

Take Care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN