Weather and Songbird Migration: April 22, 2015
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Dear Journey North,

Happy Earth Day! And what better way to celebrate Earth Day than by getting out and looking at all the migrants around!

First Fallout!
It was soggy for much of last week, which meant birds were grounded for quite a while. (Here in Chattanooga we got 6 inches of rain!) One thing that happened was the first fallout of the spring! (See my post on March 4th for an explanation fallout.) It happened in Alabama. Lots of birds were arriving from the tropics, but when they got to the coast the weather was bad so they landed in large numbers. Birders reported 39 species of migratory songbirds, including 17 species of warblers!

Moving North as Weather Clears
The weather finally cleared at the beginning of the week, and birds have been making their way northward. A lot of Northern Waterthrushes were around at my study site this morning. I also heard my first Gray Catbird of the spring. Other recent arrivals here include Tennessee Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, American Redstarts, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Some redstarts have also made it into Pennsylvania, along with Yellow Warblers and Wood Thrushes. House Wrens, Indigo Buntings, and Eastern Kingbirds were recently seen in Massachusetts, and a few Louisiana Waterthrushes and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have managed to make it to Maine.

Progress Out West
Out West, migration continues to be steady. Many of the species are ones I have mentioned in previous weeks, and some of the more numerous arrivals include many Nashville Warblers and Wilson’s Warbler in California, along with the first MacGillivray’s Warbler. Wilson’s Warblers were also seen as far a Washington, and Common Yellowthroats and Black-chinned Hummingbirds showed up in Idaho.

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist
Dr. David Aborn
American Redstart
Laura Erickson
American Redstart
Wilson's Warbler
Laura Erickson
Wilson's Warbler
Weather Map: This Week's Outlook
So will the good weather hold, or will there be more rain? By this point, you be able to look at the map and tell me!
weather map April 1, 2015
  • A cold front is moving across the country right now. While there is not much rain with it, strong northerly winds are behind it. That means that many migrants in the East had better get moving while they can, because over the next couple of days they won’t get very far.

  • Migrants will have another opportunity to make some progress over the weekend before another front moves across the country. That second front will bring some rain to the Pacific Northwest tomorrow and Friday, so migrants won’t be able to get as far as they have the past couple of weeks. By the time that front reaches the eastern US early next week, there will be more rain and birds will have to stay put again.

Migration is peaking in the southern US, and is well underway in the north. It will be over before you know it, so get out there and enjoy it!

Take care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

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Next Update April 29, 2015