While the weather this past week has been terrible for
people because of all the damage it created, it has made for another good
That storm system moved very slowly, making for several days of poor flying
in many places. After the rains cleared along the Texas coast on Saturday
(May 1), a researcher at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory reported "Tennessee
Warblers in plague proportions" and "oodles of orioles, buntings,
and warblers." The next day birders at Dauphin Island, Alabama, reported "hundreds
of American Redstarts and Chestnut sided Warblers."
last week's report I mentioned that I was going to be participating
in a BioBlitz
at the Chattanooga Nature Center. The rains held off, and we had a pretty
good tally. My team of dedicated birders saw or heard 75 bird species.
While our numbers were not as high as those reported along the coast,
many of the more numerous
species we saw were the same—such as American Redstarts and Yellow
Warblers. There were a lot of Blackpoll Warblers around as well.
also heard a Connecticut Warbler, a species that is not common in the
area, but usually passes through in early May, so he was right on time!
our first Swainson'sThrush of the year, and I banded my first Veery
of the year. I banded about a dozen different species during the BioBlitz,
which wasn't too bad. Here are some photos:
The storm system was mostly a rain system; there wasn't much in the way
of northerly winds. That meant that once the front passed, winds became
favorable for flying pretty quickly, and many migrants have been streaming
northward. People in Annapolis, Maryland reported 12 species of warblers,
along with their first Blue grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and Orchard Orioles.
At Cape May, New Jersey, they saw 20 warbler species, especially Canada
Warblers and Bay-breasted Warblers, and there were a lot of Gray Catbirds
Birders in New Hampshire have been treated to their first Baltimore Orioles,
Bobolinks, Indigo Buntings and Eastern Kingbirds.
Out West, migrants have also been able to make a lot of progress. Birders
in central and northern California saw their first Western Tanager, and
reported lots of Orange-crowned Warblers. Nevada seemed to have the greatest
diversity, with Blue Grosbeaks, Lazuli Buntings, Bullock's Orioles, Nashville
Warblers, Yellow Warblers, and Many Yellow-rumped Warblers
being seen. Orange-crowns and yellow-rumps have made it as far north
as Washington. The first migrants have even made it up to Alaska (!!!),
with the first Violet green Swallows and Rufus Hummingbirds being seen
up there. Talk about a journey north!
Does This Week’s Weather Mean for Migration?
So what does this week look like? By this point, you should be telling
front is moving across the country. This one does not have much
rain with it, but there are northerly winds behind it. (Here in
Tennessee, we will be near 90 degrees this week, but back in the
70's by the weekend). That will force birds to land, and while
migration has just peaked along the Gulf Coast, there are still
a couple of weeks left
so a decent fallout is still possible.
farther inland, such as the Midwest, could also see birds landing
in good numbers by the end of the week.
Migratory Bird Day
This weekend is International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), and celebrations
are happening all across the country. To see what is happening in your
here and then click on the
is a great way to learn more about migratory birds, or even to share
what you have learned with others!
the Concern About Migratory Birds?
is a lot of concern about migratory birds because many bird populations
are declining as
a result of
habitat loss, exotic species, pollution, and other threats.
big concern right now is the major oil spill in the Gulf of
migrants rely on those coastal habitats to rest and refuel after
making the 18-hour non-stop crossing in the spring, and before doing
crossing again in the fall. The potential damage to those ecosystems
is tremendous. If your class or school would like to help out, the
American Birding Association has set up a donation
page where people
can make contributions to help with the clean-up if/when
the oil reaches the coastline. Any contribution will help, and you
can feel good knowing you have helped protect
such magnificent animals.
hope you have enjoyed my reports this season, and I look forward
to teaching you more next year. If you have any questions about bird
migration you would like to ask me, feel free
to contact me.
Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Evaluation: Please Share Your
you take a few minutes to complete our Year-end Evaluation? With
your help, we can we document Journey North's reach, impact and
value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going