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April 6, 2011
Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist
Dr. David Aborn

Dear Students:

Well, a lot of movement happened over the past week, including a small fallout. The front that moved across the country this weekend and Monday forced a nice variety of birds to land, although numbers are still small. Folks along the Texas coast reported good numbers of Orchard Orioles and Eastern Kingbirds after the storms passed. Birders along the Alabama coast reported many Black-and-white Warblers and Black-throated-green Warblers. There were also many other “first of the season” birds reported elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, including Ovenbirds, Prairie Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, American Redstarts, Kentucky Warblers, Tennessee Warblers, Gray Catbirds, and Indigo Buntings. Here in Tennessee I saw my first White-eyed Vireo of the season, as well as the first Great-crested Flycatcher.

Before the cold front came through, birds had a couple of days to try and get farther north, but they didn’t make it very far. Washington, DC saw its first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, while Missouri reported Yellow-throated Warblers, and Black-throated-green Warblers. I did not see or receive and reports of migrants farther north than that in the eastern half of the country.

Birds made better progress out West. New Mexico and Arizona continue to see Lucy’s, Wilson’s, and Nashville Warblers returning, while southern California reported its first Western Kingbirds. California continues to see many swallows coming through, and many of those birds have been able to go pretty far. People in Oregon reported hundreds of swallows of several species.

How Does This Week Look?
This week’s weather looks a little different:

  • Birds in much of the eastern US will be grounded by north winds for another day or two, while birds in the Midwest have southerly winds, so keep your eyes open for some new arrivals!
  • A lot of the birds stuck along the Gulf Coast should be able to head north be the weekend, so people in the mid-Atlantic and New England could have some first-of-season birds as well.
  • Birds out west aren’t so lucky right now. There is a low-pressure area bringing rain to much of the Southwest, so birds will have to stay put for a day or two.
  • As that low pressure and the cold front associated with it move east, flying conditions will improve out West, but won’t be so good in the Midwest by Friday. Those poor conditions will reach the eastern US by Sunday or Monday. It is not as strong a cold front as this last one, so I don’t expect large fallouts, but you never know!

Take Care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

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