Dr. David Aborn

April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

What better way to celebrate the Earth than by watching spring bird migration! For many of you, there is plenty to see.

The front that moved across the country at the end of last week, and over the weekend produced some more good fallouts. Many places along the Texas coast reported seeing 25-30 warbler species, and large numbers of Gray Catbirds and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Some of the new species seen were Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Magnolia warbler, Swainson's Thrush, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Yellow-billed cuckoo. People on the Mississippi coast reported large numbers of grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, Tennessee Warblers, and Baltimore Orioles.

Great Birding, Thanks to the Weather!
By Monday and Tuesday, winds had shifted to the south, and some of those birds, as well as birds I have been reporting on over the past week or two, have been able to make it farther north. At my study site yesterday, I saw my first Blue-winged Warblers, Wood Thrushes, Blackpoll Warblers, Northern Waterthrushes, Scarlet Tanagers, and Great-crested Flycatchers. People in
Massachusetts saw their first Blue-headed Vireos and Louisiana Waterthrushes, while several Common Yellowthroats have made it all the way up to Maine.

In the Midwest, birders in Ohio reported the greatest numbers of migrants,
including their first Prairie Warbler, Black-throated-green Warblers, House Wrens, Yellow-throated Vireos, and Scarlet Tanagers. For those of you living in the upper Midwest, you won't have to wait too long before the excitement reaches you, because swallows have returned to Michigan, House wrens and Least Flycatchers have come back to Minnesota.

Slow in the West
Out west, it has been slow. There have been southerly winds, which have allowed birds to arrive from the tropics and continue moving north. Arizona, New Mexico, and California have not reported anything new, but Nevada has had an assortment of flycatchers moving through, along with Rufus Hummingbirds, Bell's Vireos, and Bullock's Orioles. The weather has also allowed the first swallows (Barn and Tree) and Black-throated-gray Warblers to show up in Colorado.

What to Expect This Week
Will this week be another good one for fallouts? Probably not.

  • There is a weak weather system moving across the country right now, but it is not expected to bring more than a quick shower to most places, and temperatures will remain warm. With light winds and little to no rain, birds should be able to make good progress over the next week.
  • While people in the southern half of the US might not see any fallouts, we are at the peak of migration, so the should still be a lot of birds to see.
  • For those farther north, you can expect many new species to be arriving. Good weather and good birding indeed make this a great week the celebrate Mother Nature!

The rest of April is prime time for migration, so there should be lots of birds no matter where you are; it is just a great time of year!

Take Care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN