Things are starting to happen! There was an increase in reports of swallows
and martins from several places across the country. The first Purple
Martin report came from Lubbock, TX, and Cliff Swallows have started
arriving in California. Here in Tennessee, Tree Swallows have begun arriving
all over the state, including here in Chattanooga. This photo shows some
Tree Swallows that were happy to discover a new place to nest. Be sure
to see the whole story.
Fronts and Fallouts
So, will we see an even bigger influx of migrants this week? Over the past
couple of days, a strong cold front moved across the country. If we were
later into the migration season, the storms and north winds brought by
this front could have resulted in the first fallouts of the season. Many
birds arriving from the tropics are exhausted. (It takes about 18 hours
non-stop for a bird to fly across the Gulf of Mexico!) If they
encounter rain or headwinds, it is more than they can handle and they land
and in large numbers. To someone on the ground, it looks like the birds
are "falling out" of the sky, hence the name of the phenomenon.
A fallout is a very impressive sight to see. Any migrants that landed would
be grounded until the high- pressure area moved east and the winds shifted
to the south. Until then, the birds would rest and feed so they would have
the energy to continue migrating when conditions became favorable. This
would give birders plenty to see for a couple of days.
What to Expect This Week
What does this week’s weather mean for migration? Let's take
at the weather map, you’ll see a big
area of high pressure over much of the country. Birds will have to
stick around until the system moves east in a day or two.
won’t have much time to travel, because
another cold front is coming down from Canada. This will bring more
rain over the eastern US by the middle and end of this week.
The one area that has good flying weather right
now is the western US. Skies are clear and winds are southerly, so
any migrants arriving from the tropics will be able to make a lot
of progress over the next few days.
probably have another couple of weeks before the first big movement of
migrants arrives, so keep practicing your weather skills and keep your
eyes open for birds!
Chickamauga Creek Conservancy