April 20, 2011
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

Migration has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but it is in full swing now! Last week I mentioned that the front moving across the country was weak, but that if it strengthened it could cause some large fallouts. Well, that is exactly what happened!

Large Fallouts in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida
The cold front brought lots of big storms across much of the country during the end of last week, and there were reports of large fallouts all along the Gulf Coast. The main species all seemed to be the same, regardless of whether the reports came from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, or Florida (I did not receive any reports from Mississippi, but I am sure they would have seen the same): Indigo Buntings, Scarlet Tanagers, Orchard Orioles, Red-eyed Vireos, and Painted Buntings. One observer on Grand Isle in SE Louisiana saw 105 Indigo Buntings, 56 Red-eyed Vireos, 49 Scarlet Tanagers, and 30 Orchard Orioles! Other species that were seen included the first Swainson's Thrushes, Gray-cheeked Thrushes, and Swainson's Warblers, on High Island,Texas, and birders in Gulf Breeze, Florida saw many Tennessee Warblers, American Redstarts, and Blue-winged Warblers.

Weather Slows Movement in the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast
In the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, there haven't been many new arrivals because, as you can see on the weather map, yet another cold front is bringing rainy weather and keeping those migrants grounded. In the Midwest, however, winds have already shifted to the south, so more migrants are starting to arrive. Birders in Ohio are reporting many Hooded Warblers, American Redstarts, Ovenbirds, and Prairie Warblers, while Indigo Buntings and Orchard Orioles are showing up in Missouri and Illinois.

Some Change in Western US
In the Western US, there hasn't been much change, although the Tucson, AZ area had a big arrival of Hermit Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Hutton's Vireos. Central California saw its first Black-headed Grosbeaks of the season, along with Anna's hummingbirds, Orange-crowned Warblers, and a Hammond's Flycatcher. Swallows (Bar, Tree, Northern Rough-winged) and warblers (Common Yellowthroats and Yellow-rumped Warblers) have shown up in Colorado, and the first Vaux's Swifts arrived in Washington.

How Does This Week Look?
Will there be more fallouts this week? By this point, you should be able to tell me! Look at the weather map and what do you see? Not much.

  • Once the current cold front moves off the east coast by tomorrow, high pressure will be in place for a couple of days, meaning that all those birds along the Gulf coast will stick around a little longer.
  • By the weekend, winds will have shifted to the south for much of the country, which will allow birds to finally start heading north. I expect to get reports of new arrivals through much of the northern part of the country, so be ready for them!
  • People in the southern part of the US, from coast to coast, should still see some good birds, as new migrants arrive from the tropics, but it doesn't look like there will be any fallouts.

We are heading into the peak of spring migration for some areas, while migration is just starting to kick into high gear in other places; it is a great time of year all around!

Take Care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN