Weather and Songbird Migration: April 6, 2016
By Dr. David Aborn

Indigo bunting  

Indigo bunting

Wilson's warbler

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 /Lisa Hupp/USFWS
Wilson's warbler



Dear Journey North,

Migration is definitely in full swing! That storm system I talked about last week did bring the first fallout of the season, especially along the western Gulf coast.

First Fallout
One birder in Texas reported "too many Northern Parulas to count". Ten warbler species were seen, along with the first Gray Catbirds, Indigo Buntings, Red-eyed Vireos, and Great-crested Flycatchers. In Louisiana, one birder saw 8 warbler species in one tree!

No Flight Delays in the East
I also mentioned that while the system would bring storms, there were no strong north winds behind it, so migrants would be able to resume migration quickly. The quick shift to southerly winds brought White-eyed Vireos, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Blue-headed Vireos into Maryland, Louisiana Waterthrushes up to Ohio, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers into New York.

Now Arriving in the West and Northwest
I also mentioned that good flying weather should help bring more migrants in out west. After a slow week, things definitely picked up out there. Western Kingbirds, Common Yellowthroats, and Yellow Warblers arrived in Arizona, and California had a big influx of Wilson’s Warblers, Warbling Vireos, and Black-headed Grosbeaks. As in the east, good south winds helped push western migrants up north, with Common Yellowthroats arriving in Oregon, Yellow Warblers and Purple Martins making it to Washington, and a birder in Utah had 175 Tree Swallows! What a difference a week can make!

Weather Map  


This Week's Outlook
Will this week be just as good? Looking at this week's map, it should be.

  • There is yet another cold front moving across the country, but it is the opposite of the last system. This system has less rain, but stronger winds. That means there could be more fallout conditions along the Gulf coast.

  • It also means that birds will be grounded in the eastern U.S. for a longer period (it probably won't be until Sunday or Monday before the winds come back south). That’s OK, however, because it will give you more time to enjoy the birds that are around!

  • Out west, the winds have already shifted to the south, so they should expect more arrivals.

Migration is well underway, so don't miss out on the fun! Take care.

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist  

Take care,

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

Next Update: April 13, 2016