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Migrations and Signs of Spring

Weather and Songbird Migration
April 15, 1998

Dear Students:

Well, the front that moved through Texas on Monday was again a weak one. It did seem to bring in flycatchers. I saw the first Eastern Kingbirds, Western Kingbirds, and Great-crested Flycatchers. I also saw a Common Yellowthroat next to my office! The Texas coast did much better, seeing 7 different warbler species, Wood Thrushes, Painted Buntings, and Baltimore Orioles (yeah!).

Maps by Purdue University

Monday, April 13 (6 pm)

Tues., April 14 (6 am)

The front regained its strength Monday night as it moved east, and reached the East Coast on Tuesday. In other words, the winds from the low pressure area became stronger and picked up more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, producing more rain.

This bad weather forced many migrants to land. Many places in the east reported 10-15 warbler species, along with buntings and tanagers. Since then, the winds have been from the south, so any birds that are not going to breed in those areas have moved on.
Weds., April 15 (8 am)
Map by
Purdue University

As I write this report, another cold front is about to move through central Texas (04/15/98). It is not supposed to bring much rain, but today's southerly winds are supposed shift tonight to the northwest at 10-20 mph. That is a strong headwind for a small bird, so birdwatchers and researchers should have a good day tomorrow.

Just like in past weeks, as the front moves east the poor flying weather will move with it, forcing birds to land for a day or two.

We are heading into the peak time of migration in the southern United States, so people should be seeing a good diversity of birds. Oriole numbers should be picking up soon, so keep your eyes and ears open!

Take care.

Dr. David A. Aborn

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