March 24, 2010
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

There has been a lot of migration this past week! The rain last week didn't slow the birds down for long, and the strong southerly winds helped bring in a lot of new species, especially out west. I hope you students in the Tucson, Arizona area haven't been inside the last few days because you really would have missed out! I received reports of dozens of Wilson's Warblers, Lucy's Warblers, and Black-throated-gray Warblers, as well the first report of Scott's Oriole. Birders in southern California did pretty well too, seeing their first Wilson's Warblers, Black-throated-gray Warblers, Bullock's Orioles, and Western Kingbirds.

It was a pretty good week in the eastern US as well, with people along the Alabama coast seeing the most. They reported seeing many White-eyed Vireos, Worm-eating Warblers, and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and people in Louisiana reported their first Indigo Buntings. Here in Tennessee, the first Purple Martins showed up at my study site, and I heard the first Blue-headed Vireo of the season. Blue-headed Vireos also showed up in both Carolinas. The southerly winds have also helped push the first Tree Swallows and Northern Rough-winged Swallows up into Pennsylvania.

What Does This Week’s Weather Mean for Migration?
So will this week be just as productive? Look at the weather map and see:

  • There is a storm system in the middle of the country, and you know what that means...bad flying weather. The rain will ground birds for a couple of days as it moves across the middle and eastern part of the country.
  • The high-pressure area behind the system will provide clear skies, but north winds, so that will further delay migration. All those birds I mentioned from the Gulf Coast will have to stick around until the weekend.
  • Birds in the Eastern US had better get a move on, otherwise they will be grounded starting at the end of the week, and they probably won't be able to head north again until the beginning of next week. By that time, winds will be southerly in the central US, so birds already here can get going again, and a new round of migrants can take their place.
  • Out West, the winds are already from the south. They should stay that way for at least the next several days. That means people farther north might see their first migrants, and people in New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California should keep their eyes open for more new arrivals from the tropics.

It looks like migration is in full swing, so don't miss out! Take care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

The Next Weather and Songbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 31, 2010.
Updates Will be Posted on WEDNESDAYS: Mar. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Apr. 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5.
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