Weather and Songbird Migration: March 30, 2016
By Dr. David Aborn

Baltimore oriole  

Baltimore oriole

Hooded warbler
Hooded warbler


Dear Journey North,

Migration marches on! Southerly winds and clear skies for much of the week have allowed migrants to get pretty far north, and new species have started arriving. Purple Martins have made it to Pennsylvania, Louisiana Watherthrushes were seen in Indiana and Nebraska, and Tree Swallows got as far north as Ohio.

New Species Keep Coming in the Gulf Coast
Birders on the Gulf coast saw a nice variety of new species, with the first Baltimore Orioles, eastern Kingbirds, Worm-eating Warblers, Hooded Warblers, and Wood Thrushes arriving in Mississippi, and Tennessee Warblers and Orchard Orioles being seen in Louisiana.

All Quiet on the Western Front
The western U.S. was surprisingly quiet, with few reports of new arrivals or birds making progress northward. I am not sure why that might be. It could be that conditions in places like Mexico, where the birds would be coming from, were not favorable for migration. It could also be that birders weren't very active this week. Hopefully the coming week will be better!

Weather Map  


This Week's Outlook
Speaking of the coming week, let's look at the weather map and see what's going on.

  • The main feature on the map is another cold front moving across the country. Unlike the last front, which did not have a lot of rain with it, this one is expected to bring lots of rain and storms to the eastern half of the country. That means migrants will have to land and hunker down for a couple of days.

  • A couple of weeks ago I mentioned how big storm systems can cause fallouts of migrants along the Gulf coast. This system is strong enough and migration is underway enough that we could see the first fallout of the season.

  • The front does not have strong north winds behind it, so birds should not be grounded long, and can continue northward pretty soon after the front passes.

  • Skies are clear and winds are from the south out west, so birders there should see a lot of birds coming in, so hopefully I can report something next week!

There should be a lot of activity coming up, so keep your eyes open!

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist  

Take care,

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

Next Update: April 6, 2016