The wave of songbird migration is moving across North America much more quickly than that of the monarch butterflies. Sightings from the past two weeks are reported below. You may want to chose one color to designate each week of the migration. (For example, sightings between April 15-22 could be marked in Red, April 23-29 in Blue, etc.). Several people comment about the weather conditions at the time of their sightings. Clip the weather map from your daily newspaper and see if you can see the weather patterns mentioned.
Many songbirds now arriving from the tropics are insectivorous (meaning that they eat insects). We've wondered if they come at the same time that the leaves come out on trees. Here's why: As leaves emerge from buds in the spring, they're especially tender and rich in protein. At the same time, there's an explosion of leaf-eating insects (in the caterpillar stage) that gorge on this rich source of food.
Take a close look at a tree as the leaves come out and see what kind of insect life you can find. Have the leaves come out yet where you are? Have the orioles arrived? Here's a update from New York. Notice that the orioles arrived in that region at about the same time that leaves are emerging.
From PENNSYLVANIA: "Dear Friends in Journey North, We found four trees with leaves as big as a quarter. We tried to look in books to see what kinds of trees they are, but we couldn't find anything that looked like our leaves. Sorry. Anyway, we are calling it Leaf Out on April 24th in Warrington, Pennsylvania (a suburb north of Philadelphia, see our global address below). Sincerely, Your friends in Pennsylvania." Mr. Roades' class Titus Elementary School email@example.com Global Address: 40'15" North, 75'15" West
From NEW YORK: "The oak leaves in Elmont, Long Island, New York are the size of a quarter today, May 2, 1995. It has been cool and rainy for the last 3 days." Celine Valerakis for Ms. Babcock's class Alden Terrace School, Elmont, NY K12elbac@vaxc.hofstra.edu
Date Location April 16 Cape Girardeau County, Missouri April 16 Urbana, Illinois April 19 Platteville, Wisconsin April 21 Shannon County, Missouri April 23 Montgomery County, Maryland (D.C. Area) April 24 Cleveland, Ohio April 25 Various Locations in Connecticut April 25 Elsah, Illinois April 25 Fairfield, Connecticut April 25 Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts April 26 Springfield, Illinois April 28 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania April 28 Cambridge, Massachusetts April 29 Chicago, Illinois April 29 Lee and Van Buren County, Iowa April 29 Bedford, Virginia April 30 Spring Mountain, Pennsylvania
April 16 The rapidly passing storm fronts in Missouri have resulted in many additional migrants being seen. Northern Orioles returned to Cape Girardeau County on April 16 and 17. A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird was sighted in St. Louis County on April 15. Susan Hazelwood Audubon Society of Missouri SUSAN@imed.missouri.edu
April 16 Several very early migrants arrived at Busey Woods near Urbana, Illinois on April 16th. These were ORCHARD ORIOLE, VEERY, YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, SCARLET TANAGER, and PROTHONOTARY WARBLER. Several of these species set early arrival dates for Central Illinois. Illinois State Museum
April 19 My name is A.J form Platteville, Wisconsin. I sighted an oriole on April 19th. While I was riding past my friends house I saw it in front of his house on his yard. UPTON@uwplatt.edu
April 21 Migration is in full swing with sightings of many new returning species from all over the state. With the many successive low pressure fronts passing through, birds that are being reported in southern Missouri are in central and northern Missouri within the next day or two. A NORTHERN ORIOLE was spotted with a wave of EASTERN KINGBIRDS in Shannon County on April 21-22. Lingering WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and DARK-EYED JUNCO were still in Shannon County on April 22. (Both of these species are heading to the northern boreal forest to breed and most have already left this state.) Donna A. Brunette dbrunett@MAIL.COIN.MISSOURI.EDU
April 23 Orioles and tanagers made appearances this past week in the D.C. area. Two NORTHERN ORIOLES were reported in Montgomery County, Maryland on April 23. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDs were reported from a number of locations around our region this past week. Thrushes and vireos were also abundant this past week and many species of warblers were reported as well. Steve Cordle Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States scordle@CAPACCESS.ORGDC
April 24 A female NORTHERN ORIOLE was seen in Parma Heights in Cleveland on the 24th. Warm south winds late on the 26th presaged the appearance of good numbers of migrants the following day, over 20 new species were sighted. Jean Hoffman djhoff@IX.NETCOM.COM
April 25 Migrants have appeared in large numbers and varieties since last weekend, with many species being widely reported. Species reported recently include NORTHERN ORIOLE and ORCHARD ORIOLE. Connecticut Ornithological Association and the Audubon Council of Connecticut. George W. Zepko GZEPKO@EAGLE.WESLEYAN.EDU
April 25 Hello to all the students that are tracking birds: These arrivals are for Elsah, Illinois. We're on the banks of the Mississippi River, 30 miles north of St. Louis MO. Northern Oriole: today, 4/25/9 Barn Swallows: arrived 4/8/95 (about on time) Wood Thrush: arrived 4/16/95 (a full week early) Grey-cheeked Thrush: today 4/25/95
Both Tanagers are in (Scarlet 4/21/95, Summer 4/25/95), and a number of warblers (Cerulean, Waterthrushes, Yellow-rumped, Parula) and vireos. Warbling vireo, and Red-eyed Vireo also showed up today, Yellow-thoated and Solitary last week. No sign of the Yellow Warbler, but I would suspect that they are here. They are due during the last week of April. I just haven't hit the right habitat for them. I'll check later this week. All of the above were seen on birdwalks by my Field Ornithology class. Bobolinks should be here next week. I'll let you know. Looking for the hummers, they are also due now. Gotta go get the feeders ready! Preston Larimer Dept. of Biology/Environmental Science Principia College, Elsah, Illinois jpl@SPECTRE.PRIN.EDU
April 25 Spring migration has burst at the seams during the past week with many northbound species appearing. Migrants have appeared in large numbers and varieties since last weekend including the NORTHERN ORIOLE and ORCHARD ORIOLE. Connecticut Ornithological Association, Fairfield, Connecticut
April 26 On April 26 a fairly good influx of migrants occurred in Springfield, Illinois. A male BALTIMORE ORIOLE was at Lincoln Gardens and a male RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was in Washington Park in Springfield. A small hawk flight occurred over Springfield at 2 PM; there were 25 BROAD-WINGED HAWKS, TURKEY VULTURES, an OSPREY, 2 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKand a MERLIN. Illinois State Museum Rare Bird Alert birds@MUSEUM.STATE.IL.US
April 28 The first significant wave of spring migrants was noted today At Mt. Auburn Cemetary in Cambridge this morning there were 1 NORTHERN ORIOLE and over 20 other species sighted for the first time this spring. Reports from Martha's Vineyard this week included an ORCHARD ORIOLE. Voice of Audubon, Barbara620@aol.com
April 28 An ORCHARD ORIOLE and several KINGBIRDS were found at the Arboretum today. The oriole was found north of Arbor Lake. A female RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was seen in a yard in West Chicago on the 25th. Jim Frazier 76606.402@COMPUSERVE.COM
April 28 Spring migration has come to Philadelphia with a BALTIMORE ORIOLE in Peace Valley and the first INDIGO BUNTING heard near Churchtown today. Gerhard R. Wittreich wittregr@SSNET.COM Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 29 An orchard oriole and ruby-throated hummingbird were among 104 species counted on a spring field trip in Iowa (Lee and Van Buren Counties) on April 29th. Jim Fuller IOUFULLER@aol.com
April 29 A NORTHERN ORIOLE arrived in a yard in Downers Grove (suburb of Chicago) on Saturday, April 29th and a late JUNCO was seen at the Arboretum on Thursday, April 27. Jim Frazier 76606.402@COMPUSERVE.COM.
April 29 First oriole sighting-report from Mariya and Sonya Narodny Seen April 29, 1995, 33 north x 79.5 w - Bedford, Virginia Bedford Middle School Bedford Elementary School VANDOT@aol.com
April 30 A Northern (Baltimore) Oriole was sighted for the first time this spring in Spring Mountain, PA (25 m. n.w. of Philly). Reported by Marcia Clouser firstname.lastname@example.org by way Ms. Michele Ward and the Oriole Squad
OTHER MIGRATION NOTES:
From NEW JERSEY: The first male RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were seen April 19; females will follow soon, so put up your feeders now if you hope to entice them to nest in your yard. But also plant lots of good nectar sources for them. OSPREY are back at their nests, and have started to lay eggs; BALD EAGLES, among the earliest breeders, have sizable eaglets to feed now. Laurie Larson Cape May, New Jersey LLARSON@PUCC.BITNET.
From WISCONSIN: The first sightings of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and ROSE- BREASTED GROSBEAKS were reported on Thursday, April 27th in Madison, Wisconsin. AMERICAN GOLDFINCH numbers are up while those of DARK-EYED JUNCOS are down. Larry Parnell Madison Audubon Society PARNELLL@MACC.WISC.EDU