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Weather and Songbird Migration: Mar. 6, 2013
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Dear Journey North,

Well, Mother Nature threw me a curve! Last week, I mentioned that the storm system moving into the country didn't look like it was going to do much. Boy, was I wrong!

Storm System Stops Migrants Cold
Last week's storm system picked up a lot of moisture as it moved across the country and created a major snowstorm. More migrants have been arriving from the tropics, and the strong northerly winds behind the front have stopped them cold (literally and figuratively!). In addition to more reports of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds across the Gulf coast, several of the other early migrant species have arrived. One group of early migrating species are the swallows. I have already reported that Tree Swallows have been arriving, and now some of the others are joining them. The first Purple Martins have been seen in Mississippi and Tennessee, and Barn Swallows were seen in Texas and Florida. The first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers of the spring were also seen in Texas, and Northern Parulas have shown up in Louisiana and Florida. The most surprising sighting came from Alabama, where an extremely early Wood Thrush was seen!

Arrivals in the West
Birders out west are also getting a taste of spring migration. Tree Swallows, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and Violet-green Swallows have arrived in Arizona, along with the first Bullock's Oriole.

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist
Photo: David Aborn
Dr. David Aborn
 
Northern Parula
Photo: Laura Erickson
Northern Parula
 
Barn Swallow
Photo: Laura Erickson
Barn Swallow
 
Weather Map: This Week's Outlook
Let's see if I can do a better job of predicting what will happen this coming week!
Weather map 2/27/13
  • Another cold front is moving onshore in California, which will bring rain, but not much in the way of north winds. Nonetheless, migrants arriving from Mexico will have to land for a day or two, which means good birding for people in the Southwest.
  • As the front moves across the country, it will continue bringing some rain, but not much cold, so migrants arriving along the Gulf Coast will have to land for a short time by the end of the week, and the same will be true for the Southeast over the weekend. The poor flying conditions won't last long, and migrants will be on their way in no time, so I expect there may be some of the first migrant reports from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic..

Migration is starting to get rolling, so get out there and look for it (once you are done building your snowmen!).!

Take care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN

 

The next Weather and Songbird Migration Update will be posted on March 13.
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