Weather and Songbird Migration: February
It has been a warm and rainy winter here in Tennessee, and signs
of spring have been showing up early. Crocuses and forsythias are
blooming, and I heard the first robins, cardinals, and Song sparrows singing here at the end of January!
The bluebirds have paired up and are busily checking out nest sites. Best of all, it won't be long before migrants start arriving
from their wintering grounds in the tropics!
Learn to Read a Weather Map
are still a few weeks before things really get busy, so you have time
to practice predicting migratory activity from looking at a weather
map. Be sure to
read my tutorial on how to read
a weather map and how weather affects bird migration so you can
prepare for my reports this migration season.
What Can We Expect This Week?
Let's practice our predictions by looking at this week's weather map and see what is happening:
You will notice that a cold front recently moved across the country, but it was a weak one that didn't bring much rain or colder temperatures. If migration had been full swing, migrants would not have been slowed down and would have able to fly farther inland. The next couple of days, however, would be a different story.
A couple of low-pressure systems are moving across the south over the next couple of days, and a cold front is forming behind them. Severe weather is predicted in the southern US today and tomorrow. If migrants were arriving from the tropics, storms and north winds would force birds to land in large numbers, creating what is known as a fallout. Bird watchers and researchers like to see fallouts because it means lots of birds!
Lost? Blown Off Course?
Sometimes birds get lost or get blown off course during migration and end up far from their normal range. That is what happened here in Tennessee this winter. The unusual bird at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge attracted several thousand visitors from 47 states and 10 foreign countries. Click on each photo below to find out where the bird came from, how it got to Tennessee, and where it is now. Maybe you shoud watch for it too!
While migration may be slow for now, it won't be long before we are
to our necks in migrants, so dust off your binoculars!
Chickamauga Creek Conservancy