Weather and Songbird Migration: April 13, 2016
By Dr. David Aborn

Golden-winged warbler





CC BY-NC-ND 2.0/BigDipper2
Golden-winged warbler

Nashville warbler

CC BY-ND 2 / Kevin Vance
Nashville warbler

Wind Map  
Watch the Wind  
Dear Journey North,

Birds are really moving! Last week I mentioned that the storm system that moved across the country would bring strong northerly winds that would keep birds grounded a while, and that is just what happened.

Another Fallout Along the Gulf
Much of the eastern U.S. had strong north winds for about 4 days, and that resulted in another good fallout. All along the Gulf coast, birders reported good numbers of warblers, thrushes, and other migrants. Some of the new arrivals included the first Golden-winged Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Kentucky Warblers, Wood Thrushes, and Baltimore Orioles.

Wind Shift Brings More Migrants North
The winds started to shift yesterday, and many of those migrants have taken advantage of it. At my study site [in Tennessee] this morning I heard my first House Wrens, Prairie Warblers, and White-eyed Vireos. Martins and swallows have arrived in Rhode Island, and Northern Parulas, Black-and-white Warblers, and Gray Catbirds were seen in New York.

Rain Lifts in the West, Some Migrants Reach Alaska!
Out west, there was rain over the weekend as another storm system came in from the Pacific. That forced migrants to land, and big numbers of migrants were seen in Arizona, including the first Scott's Orioles, Dusky Flycatchers, and Hammond's Flycatchers. Once the rain moved out, the winds became southerly and the birds started moving again. Throughout California, birders have been reporting good numbers of Bullock's Orioles, Hooded Orioles, Nashville Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Wilson's Warblers. The southerly winds carried the Nashville and Wilson's Warblers, along with Warbling Vireos, into Oregon and Washington, and 8 Tree Swallows were seen in . . . Alaska!

Weather Map  

This Week's Outlook
So, will people up north continue to see more migrants arriving? From the looks of the weather map, I would say YES!

  • Southerly winds are going to dominate the country for much of the week, so many migrants should be able to do a lot of travelling.

  • There is a storm system along the Gulf coast, and another moving through the Rockies, but neither of these has a lot of rain with them, and the winds behind the fronts are not strong, so birds should not be slowed very much.

  • Migration will soon be peaking in the southern U.S., and it is just getting started in the northern areas, so no matter where you are, there is a lot to see!
Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist  

Take care,

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

Next Update: April 20, 2016