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Weather Forecast for the Birds
April 4, 2001

Dear Students:

Contributed by Dr. David Aborn

In my last report I mentioned a cold front that was moving across the country. I said that the rain and north winds that came with it would force migrants to land, and that is what happened. The Gulf coast states (TX, LA, MS, AL, FL) reported small numbers of the early season migrants, such as Lousiana Waterthrushes, Black-and-white Warblers, and Blue-headed Vireos. After a few days, as the high pressure area moved east, the winds started coming from the south, allowing the birds to move northward. Here in Tennessee, and at my study site at Lula Lake, GA, I saw the first waterthrushes and black-and-whites, as did people in Iowa and Ohio. I also heard Yellow-throated Vireos.

The Weather Channel

The coming weeks promise even more excitement! This week, a cold front has stalled across the Gulf coast states. This means that there have been several straight days of bad weather. Any birds arriving from the tropics will be grounded for a while, and people in those states should have some great birding. On April 1st, the Texas coast reported 23 species of warblers! There were a few that were very early, such as American Redstarts, Yellow Warblers, and chats. These guys usually don't arrive until mid to late April. Mississippi is reporting waterthrushes, Worm-eating Warblers, and Red-eyed Vireos, and the Georgia and South Carolina coasts have had their first Summer Tanagers, Prothonotary Warblers, and Northern Parulas. The front is expected to weaken and fall apart this weekend, which should allow all those birds to continue their journey north. People in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic states should be ready to see some good birds! There do not appear to be any new fronts coming in until the middle of next week, so there may not be anything to force birds to land in large numbers. Things are really starting to pick up, however, so keep your binoculars handy!

Happy Birding!


Dr. David Aborn
Ornithologist, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Tennesse at Chattanooga


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