Oriole Oriole
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Oriole Migration Update: May 6, 1999

Today's Report Includes:

They're Here!
Don't blink or you'll miss it! In contrast to some other species, oriole migration occurs in only a matter of days. Look how quickly they moved:

While you map their migration, think about this:

Challenge Question #6
"Why do orioles push northward during a single week in late April/early May, when hummingbirds move northward so gradually, for 8-10 weeks from March to mid-May?"

Look for clues:

  • Compare the wintering grounds and breeding grounds of each species.
  • Consider each species' food requirements.
  • Consider each species' habitat requirements.
  • Think about the physical characteristics of each bird (size, weight, wingspan, etc.).

Weather and Migration
What weather systems might have swept the orioles northward so quickly? See what you can discover:

1. First play with the data for awhile. You might count the number of sightings per day, then make a graph so you can see the peak migration dates. And/or, look at the map on the WWW, then back at the data. Are there certain regions where, in a single day, many orioles appeared?

2. Now look at the weather maps for the 3-4 days leading up to the arrival:

According to Journey North data:

  • Do orioles seem to migrate with south winds?
  • Do clear or cloudy skies seem to matter?
  • Do orioles seem to migrate when the moon is full, or nearly so?
  • Do they travel on the back of a high pressure system?
  • Was the barometric pressure dropping when they traveled? (Birds can detect dropping pressure, and it's a clue that a low pressure system with south winds is coming.)

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-oriole@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #6
3. In the body of your message, answer the question above.

Journey North
Year End Evaluation
Please share your thoughts

The FINAL Oriole Migration Update Will be Posted on May 20, 1999.

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