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Migrations and Signs of Spring

Weather and Songbird Migration
April 22, 1998

Dear Students:
Last week I mentioned a front was about to move through central Texas on April 15th. It did not bring any rain, but during the night the winds shifted to the north at 15-20 mph.
Thurs., April 16 (6 am)
Map by
Purdue University

As you should know by now, birds trying to migrate north cannot fly with such strong headwinds, and must land. I went out the morning of the 16th to find LOTS of Nashville Warblers and Black-throated Green Warblers, but not much else. Other areas in central Texas also reported Indigo Buntings and Painted Buntings.

That same front moved east, bringing all that nasty weather (i.e. tornadoes) to the southeast on the 16th and 17th. Once it moved through, areas along the East Coast also reported good numbers of migrants. The best report, however, came from the Texas coast.

Maps by Purdue University

Friday, April 17 (6 pm)

Sat., April 18 (6 pm)

The southernmost part of the front was slow to move, so the Texas coast had a couple of days of rain, followed by the north winds. They reported a spectacular fallout on the 18th,

See Today's Report

with 53 species of migrants being seen! The most numerous birds were Nashville Warblers (100 seen), Indigo Buntings (500 seen!!!), and Northern Orioles (200 seen!!!).

So what does this week offer? Another front moved through central Texas on the 20th. This front brought brief rains that night, but the winds behind the front were not very strong.

I went out on the 21st, and the winds were from the north, but only 5 mph. This is not strong enough to force migrants to land, and I did not see many birds, but I did see the first Warbling Vireo of the season.
Maps by Purdue University

Tues., April 21 (6 pm)

Weds., April 22 (6 pm)

Today (April 22nd), the skies are clear and winds are already back around from the south, so any birds that did land had good flying weather last night and they continued their journey north. The front is bringing some rain to the Ohio Valley and the east, but the north winds behind it are still weak, so it will probably not force many migrants to land.

Another front is moving into the northwestern U.S., and this one may be stronger. It is supposed to reach Texas over the weekend, and I will let you know how it goes. Orioles, buntings, thrushes, and cuckoos should all be moving through here around this time.

Have a good week, and good birding!


Dr. David A. Aborn

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