Weather and Songbird Migration: Apr. 10, 2013
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Dear Journey North,

The birds are really on the move now! Flying conditions have been favorable for most of the week, so migrants are being seen far and wide.

Good Tailwinds Push Migrants North
Here in Tennessee, Chimney Swifts have arrived, along with White-eyed Vireos, Cerulean Warblers, Blue-winged Warblers, Summer Tanagers, Scarlet Tanagers, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and Whip-poor-wills. Blue-headed Vireos, Louisiana Waterthrushes, and Yellow-throated Warblers have made it up to New York City, while the first Veerys, Eastern Kingbirds, and Worm-eating Warblers were seen in Washington, DC. Good tail winds helped push Hooded Warblers, Warbling Vireos, White-eyed Vireos, and Black-throated-green Warblers into Indiana, and just when Minnesotans thought their winter would never end, the first Purple Martins arrived!

South and West Welcome Arrivals
In the western US, there was also a steady stream of migrants arriving. Birders in Arizona were treated to their first Broad-billed, Calliope, and Blue-throated Hummingbirds, Black-throated–gray Warblers, and the first Lazuli Buntings, Hepatic Tanagers, and Willow Flycatchers of the spring. Ash-throated Flycatchers, Cassin’s Vireos, and Western Kingbirds were seen in California, and birders in Washington saw their first Orange-crowned Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, and Barn Swallows.

Dr. David Aborn, ornithologist
Photo: David Aborn
Dr. David Aborn
Cerulean Warbler
Photo: Laura Erickson
Cerulean Warbler
Purple Martin
Photo: Wikipedia
Purple Martin
Weather Map: The Outlook

Let’s look at this week’s weather map and see what the next week looks like:

Weather map 3/13/13
  • A major storm system is moving across the country, bringing some wild weather to the Midwest. Ahead of that front, people are experiencing severe thunderstorms, and then once it passes some of those same areas are getting snow! The storms and strong north winds, combined with the north winds and the fact that migration is in full swing mean one thing — fallout! I expect next week’s report will have big numbers from the Gulf Coast.
  • By the end of the week, people in the eastern US should see big numbers of migrants landing. Migrants that are around right now have about a day to do some flying before they get grounded for several days. The front has already passed through the western US, so while birds in the east are grounded, winds out west will have shifted and a new batch of birds will arrive. By early next week, winds in the east will become favorable, and all the birds  that were stuck will be able to head north. There could be a lot of birds, so you guys up north had better be ready!

As exciting as all that sounds, we haven’t reached the peak yet, so your arms are going to get a good workout holding binoculars!

Take care.

David Aborn
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy
Chattanooga, TN


Next update April 17