JNorth Home Page
Today's News Fall's Journey South Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North

Weather and Migration

Dr. David Aborn

April 29, 2003

Dear Students:

Migration is really peaking! There have been lots of sightings, including oriole sightings, from many different areas. The front I mentioned last week sped up and moved across the country a day or two sooner than I had predicted, but the results were the same. The bad weather reached Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi by April 23rd and 24th. Lots of migrants were seen around High Island and Galveston, TX, and Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, LA. These included many of the late-season migrants, such as Yellow Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, Acadian Flycatchers, and Yellow-breasted Chats.

Click on map to enlarge.

By the 25th, the front had moved into the eastern Gulf region, and and migrants arriving from the tropics had some heavy rains and high winds to deal with. The Alabama and Florida coasts saw lots of birds, many of which were the same species seen farther west, but there were also some Cerulean Warblers, Swainson's Warblers, and Least Flycatchers mixed in. By the 26th,
winds father west had become southerly, and many of the birds forced to land earlier headed north. Memphis, TN reported many species, including 16 Baltimore Orioles! Southwestern Ohio also reported good numbers of Wood Thrushes, Warbling Vireos, Worm-eating Warblers, and Black-throated Green Warblers. By the 27th, the front had moved off the Atlantic coast, and areas in the southeast and eastern US saw lots of migrants. Here in Chattanooga, I saw the first Tennessee Warbler of the season, as well as Kentucky Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, chats, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and Veeries (a type of thrush). Some friends of mine birding in the area saw 19 species of warblers, along with 2 Baltimore Orioles, the first Eastern Wood-Peewee of the season, and found a Ruby-throated Hummingbird on a nest! The excitement wasn't limited to Tennessee. New York, Washington, DC, New Jersey, and Illinois all reported a good diversity of migrants. Illinois in particular
reported MANY migrants on the 28th, including an oriole in Montrose, IL.

So will the good birding continue? Well, there is another front moving across the country, but it is not as strong as the last one. Nonetheless, we are still in the peak period for migration, so even a little bad weather can create a good fallout. The front is on a similar schedule to the last. It should reach the TX/LA coasts by May 1, and should be off the Atlantic coast by May 3 or so. During that window, people should be looking for migrants, especially more orioles! A lot of the thrushes (Veery, Gray-cheeked, and Swainson's) should also be seen, along with some of the late-season warblers, such as Cape May, Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, and Bay-breasted Warblers. There is a lot to see this time of year, so don't spend it inside! In addition to looking for migrants, you should also be looking for signs that the birds are breeding in your area. Watch for birds carrying nest material or food. If possible, see where they go and look for the nest. If you find it, it is a neat experience to watch the parents raise the young (from a
distance, of course). Take care.

David Aborn
Chattanooga, TN



Copyright 2003 Journey North. All Rights Reserved. Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to our feedback form

Today's News

Fall's Journey South

Report Your Sightings

How to Use Journey North

Search Journey North