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Weather and Songbird Migration: March 18, 2015
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Dear Journey North,

We have had a good dose of spring weather the past several days, and the birds are liking it. (So are the people!) Over the weekend, the rain moved out and the winds turned southerly, which allowed a lot of migrants to make progress northward.

Progress Northward
Last week I mentioned that swallows and martins were plentiful along the Gulf coast. Well, those southerly winds and clear skies have allowed them to get into the Midwest. Barn Swallows were seen in Oklahoma, while Tree Swallows and Purple Martins were sighted in Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio.

New Gulf Coast/Southern Arrivals
The good flying weather has also meant that there have been a lot of new arrivals in the southern US. Birders in Louisiana had the best showing, with reports of Prothonotary Warblers, Black-and-white Warblers, Yellow-throated Warblers, Northern Parulas, White-eyed Vireos, and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. A couple of early Indigo Buntings were seen in Georgia, and Louisiana Waterthrushes arrived here in Tennessee.

Western Arrivals
There were also good flying conditions out West, and migration picked up out there as well. Black-throated-gray Warblers, Lucy’s Warblers, Plumbeous Vireos, and Western Kingbirds were seen throughout southern California and Arizona.

 

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist
Dr. David Aborn
 
Indigo Bunting
Laura Erickson
Indigo Bunting
 
Western Kingbird
Laura Erickson
Western Kingbird
Weather Map: This Week's Outlook
So what can birders expect this week? Let’s look at the weather map and see!
Weather map for Feb. 25, 2014
  • In the eastern US, a cold front passed though yesterday (Mar. 17. While it was not a strong front, noticeable north winds are behind it. That means it won’t be the best flying weather right now. But that high pressure should move east in a day or two, shifting winds to the south and letting birds resume their migration, right? Sorry, not this time! Read on:

  • Look at Texas. See that low pressure area and big blob of rain? It is going to be moving across the southern US over the next couple of days, which will keep birds grounded. Migrants will have to wait until the weekend before they get good flying weather again.

Spring officially arrives on Friday, so celebrate by getting out and look for birds!

Take care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN


Next Update: March 25, 2014