Thursday, April 16, 2009

Migration Update

We're still keeping a close watch on the northward migration of songbirds and here is the latest update, courtesy of Journey North (

A couple of back-to-back storm systems produced more fallouts over the past week, especially over Easter weekend. Bird watchers along the Texas coast went out immediately after storms passed by on April 12th. The storms hit right around the time many migrants were arriving from the tropics, so the people were rewarded with many migrants that were forced to land. Cerulean Warblers, Indigo Buntings, and Painted Buntings were particularly numerous. The hawk watching station in Corpus Christi I mentioned last week reported 11,000 Broad-winged Hawks, 1,000 Turkey Vultures, and 1,000 Mississippi Kites! Hawk watchers reported that the day was long, but fun.

Cerulean Warbler -

Numbers were good elsewhere along the Gulf Coast. One person spent an entire day walking a 7-mile trail in Louisiana and counted 290 White-eyed Vireos, 280 Prothonotary Warblers, 250 Red-eyed Vireos, 250 Common Yellowthroats, and 170 Hooded Warblers!!! Birders along the Alabama coast reported hundreds of Scarlet Tanagers, and 21 species of warblers.There was enough of a break between storm systems to allow migrants to make some progress north before being grounded again. Washington, DC reported Northern Parulas, Black-and-white Warblers, Ovenbirds, Common Yellowthroats, and Louisiana Waterthrushes.

Pennsylvania recorded its first Blue-headed Vireos, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Yellow-throated Warblers of the season.By the beginning of this week, the Easter system had moved far enough east to allow birds to move. People in Missouri reported their first White-eyed Vireos and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Iowa had Yellow-throated Warblers and Black-and-white Warblers, and the swallows have made it to Minnesota.Like the previous week, the western states have had a consistent movement of birds through the region. The most numerous species reported was Orange-crowned Warbler, but New Mexico, Arizona, and California all reported decent numbers of Western Kingbirds, Lucy's Warblers, and Wilson's Warblers. Black-headed Grosbeaks have also started showing up in California.

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