Final Weather and Songbird Migration: May 4, 2016
By Dr. David Aborn






Cerulean warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Lazuli bunting
Lazuli Bunting
International Migratory Bird Day

Migratory Bird Day

Dear Journey North,
For some of you, migration is coming to an end, but for others it is just starting to get good. That stalled front I mentioned last week finally got moving, and birds did not waste much time taking off. Winds have been out of the south the past couple of days, and migrants have been taking advantage of it, especially Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. They have been flying over much of the south and not stopping until they get farther north.

Mayday! Here Come the Warblers
In Washington, DC, birders were treated to 16 warbler species, as well as many Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. There were many new arrivals throughout New England as well. Massachusetts reported its first Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and Wood Thrushes, Gray Catbirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Baltimore Orioles, and Black-throated-green Warblers were all common sights in New Hampshire and Maine. In the upper Midwest (Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota), Worm-eating Warblers, Cerulean Warblers, Prairie Warblers, and Baltimore Orioles were all seen, along with, you guessed it, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!

Arrivals in the Northwest
Out west, it was a similar story; not much was happening in the southwest, but the northwest had arrivals. Swainson's Thrushes have been numerous in Oregon, the first Lazuli Buntings arrived in Idaho, and Warbling Vireos, Wilson's Warblers, and Black-headed Grosbeaks continued to increase in Washington.

International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 14, is International Migratory Bird Day, and my reports always end around this day. This year's theme is "Spread Your Wings For Bird Conservation", and celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protects all native birds in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

There are always events on this day, such as bird walks, banding demonstrations, and bird shows, and it provides a great opportunity to learn more about birds and bird migration (and maybe show off what you have learned!). Check with your local parks, bird clubs, or find events in your area.

Weather Map  
Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist  

This Week's Outlook

So, one last time, what does the coming week hold? The weather map shows that as one front is exiting, another cold front is moving across the country.

  • Like the last front, this one will bring some heavy rains and northerly winds, so the last push of migrants arriving from the tropics will have to land. This means there could be some good birding along the Gulf coast this Mother's Day.

  • This front is not expected to stall, so it should move through pretty quickly, and after a few days the winds should shift and birds can get moving again.

  • Out west, there is yet another front moving in from the Pacific, so like the east, there will be a few days of poor migration weather, and then birds should be able to resume their journey north.
It's been fun writing these reports, and I hope you have learned from them. Take care, and have a great summer!

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

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