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Weather Forecast for the Birds
April 20, 2000

Dear Students:
Contributed by Dr. David Aborn

Last time, in my April 6 update, I mentioned a cold front moving across the country that would likely force migrants to land. Well, it did just that, and in a big way! Texas and Mississippi reported large numbers of warblers, including the first Yellow-breasted Chats, as well as the first Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Mississippi also reported very large numbers of Orchard Orioles. I have not heard of any sightings of Baltimore Orioles in a couple of weeks, but their numbers should be increasing.

As the front moved east, it slowed down and eventually stalled when it reached me here in Tennessee. When it moved east on Sunday (4/16), the north winds forced many birds to land, especially Red-eyed Vireos and Scarlet Tanagers. I counted about 20 of each at my study site. I also saw the first Black-throated-blue Warblers. On the 17th, Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey were reporting large numbers of migrants, including 11 species of warblers! The early migrants (e.g. swallows, Northern Parulas, White-eyed Vireos)for the Gulf coast are making their way north, showing up in Illinois and Missouri. The birds I saw this week will be heading that way soon, so look for them!

The Weather Channel

This week, yet another cold front is moving across the country. The north winds and rain are expected to be strongest in the Ohio Valley, so you folks up north may have some pretty good birding Thursday and Friday. Conditions should be good (for birders, not for migrants!) along the Gulf coast as well. In the eastern and southeastern US, the front should pass by Friday and Saturday, making the weekend and early next week a good time to look for migrants. The end of April is the peak of migration in the south, but migrants are just starting to arrive farther north, so it is an exciting time for everyone!

Take care,

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


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