April 30, 2008
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

Nice Fallouts for Peak Week in the South
It was a good week to peak! The end of April is the peak of spring migration in the southern US, and the cold front that moved across the country at the end of last week produced some very nice fallouts. On Dauphin Island, Alabama, birders reported hundreds of Scarlet Tanagers, thrushes, and Orchard Orioles. In Louisiana, 26 species of warblers were seen, along with many thrushes. At Fort Desoto Park in Florida, there was no shortage of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and Baltimore Orioles, and over 50 Blackpoll Warblers were seen! Here in Tennessee, people across the state have been reporting anywhere from 16 to 21 species of warblers, including the first Cape May, Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Golden-winged Warblers. At my study site, a lot of Gray Catbirds arrived, and I heard my first Swainson's Thrush and Blackpoll warblers of the year. Not to outdone, birders in the Show-Me State (Missouri) showed everyone what a great place it can be for birds by tallying 31 species of warblers in the Saint Louis area on Monday (4/28)!

After the Cold: Shifting Winds Helped Migrants Northward
The cold weather did not last too long. By the beginning of the week, winds were shifting to the south, allowing many of those grounded migrants to take off again. Yesterday and today, I have seen or received reports of many Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, thrushes, and catbirds in Wisconsin, and many warblers in Iowa. New Jersey had its first Worm-eating Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, Yellow Warblers, and Prairie Warblers, while Veerys, Yellow Warblers, and Least Flycatchers made it up to Vermont.

Slow But Steady in the West
The western US seems to have missed out on all the action. I received reports of steady migration, but no big numbers. Western Kingbirds and other assorted flycatchers seemed to make up the bulk of what was seen, although parts of Arizona had 8 species of warblers.

What to Expect This Week
This week does not look like a good one for fallouts, but it should still be good. Take a look at the weather map:

  • A warm front is moving across the country. This means good southerly winds that will allow birds to continue moving north in good numbers.
  • By the end of the week, another cold front will be making its way across the US, but it is not a strong one. It will still slow birds down, but we probably won't anything like what people saw this past week.

While it may be the peak of migration across part of the country, there is still a lot more to come, so don't let it pass you by!

Take Care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

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