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Weather and Songbird Migration: April 1, 2015
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Dear Journey North,

Well, it might be April 1st, but it is no prank that spring migration has picked up! A few days of southerly winds have made a lot of difference to the birds, and there have been a lot of new arrivals.

Gulf Coast and the East Welcome Migrants
Birders in Louisiana saw hundreds of Tree Swallows, in addition to the first sightings of Yellow-throated Vireos, Red-eyed Vireos, Indigo Buntings, Swainson’s Warblers, Eastern Kingbirds, and Orchard Orioles. The first Cape May Warblers and Prairie Warblers arrived in Alabama, and here in Tennessee there have been lots of sightings of Louisiana Waterthrushes, the first reports of Black-throated-green Warblers, and at my study site I banded the first White-eyed Vireo of the spring. The strong south winds have helped push migrants pretty far north, with Tree Swallows, Yellow-throated warblers, and Louisiana Waterthrushes making it to New York, Ohio, and Michigan, where I am sure they are welcome signs of spring!

Much Activity in the West!
There has been a lot of activity in the west as well. The first Violet-green Swallows arrived in New Mexico, while Lazuli Buntings, Plumbeous Vireos, Bell’s Vireos, Scott’s Orioles, and Yellow Warblers were all seen throughout California. As in the East, southerly winds helped a lot of the migrants I mentioned last week make progress on their journey north. Birders in Oregon and Washington were treated to Purple Martins, Barn Swallows, Common Yellowthroats, Orange-crowned Warblers, and Black-throated-gray Warblers.

 

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist
Dr. David Aborn
 
White-eyed Vireo
Laura Erickson
White-eyed Vireo
 
Orchard Oriole
Laura Erickson
Orchard Oriole
Weather Map: This Week's Outlook
So, will this week be another good week for migration, or is Mother Nature playing an April Fool’s trick on us? Let’s look at the weather map and see!
weather map April 1, 2015
  • A look at this week’s map shows that second cold front I mentioned last week has passed through the eastern US. The East Coast is experiencing northerly winds, but the Southeast and Midwest will have southerly winds for a few more days, and the East Coast can expect those by the weekend. That means birds in the eastern half of the country should be able to continue making good progress on their migration.

  • Another cold front is moving through the western US, and the rain and northerly winds mean that birds are grounded right now. By the weekend, however, that high-pressure area will have moved far enough east that winds will become favorable again and birds can take off! Unfortunately, by that time, the front will be arriving in the Midwest, and reaching the East by early next week. That means all those migrants had better take advantage of the good weather now, because they won’t be able to get very far when that front rolls in.

Migrants are headed your way, so get out there and give them a good welcome!

Take care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN


Next Update: April 8, 2014