Monday, April 6, 2009

Tracking the MIgration

Spring is an exciting time, as we watch and listen for all those familiar birds to return from their winter stay in the tropics. Here in Madison, we have American Robins in the trees and Common Loons on the lake, the first arrivals of the spring. But soon they will be joined by lots of other songbirds, journeying, even as I type, across the gulf and northward.

The biggest fallout occurred along the Alabama coast. A bird bander working down there banded 1,000 birds over the weekend! Yesterday on the Texas coast, birders reported large numbers of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, White-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, Gray Catbirds, and Orchard Orioles, and smaller numbers of Hooded Warblers, Black-throated-green Warblers, Nashville Warblers, and many other species.

Species that had arrived previously took advantage of the good weather to continue their journey, with hundreds to thousands of Tree Swallows reported in Delaware, New York, and Ohio, and the first arrivals of Yellow-throated Warblers and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in Illinois and Missouri.

Out west, migration was slow but steady. There were no big fallouts, but there was a steady stream of flycatchers, warblers, vireos, and orioles in New Mexico, 4 species of warblers, especially Orange-crowned Warblers, in California, and Arizona saw its first Lazuli Bunting of the season.

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