New York City Area Migration Forecast – 6 September

Southwesterly winds, warm temperatures, and scattered rain will keep most birds on the ground for the end of the week through Sunday. However, a substantial change in weather is forecast late on Sunday, and there is a good chance that a passing cold front, followed by cooler temperatures and northwesterly winds, will facilitate a large movement of birds, beginning on Sunday night if it passes before sunset. Migration will be heavy once the front passes the region. Sunday night (assuming the front passes) would be an excellent night for observing migration atop the Empire State Building, watching from the observation deck on the 86th floor as birds fly streak past, illuminated by the light of the building. This night will also be a good night for listening to nocturnal migration, particularly in suburban areas of New York where one might hear flight calls of passing Veery, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, American Redstart and Ovenbird, and a suite of other species. Monday should be a fine day for weather and to see a large number and diversity of birds in city parks like Central Park, Forest Park, and Prospect Park. This diversity should include the muted hues of 15-20 species of warblers, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and thrushes like Veery, Wood Thrush, and the first substantial numbers of Swainson’s Thrushes. Migration will also be evident during the day on Monday and Tuesday – northwesterly winds will push migrants toward the coast, and small groups of Broad-winged Hawks, Ospreys, and early Turkey Vultures should be visible in many parts of the five boroughs.  Additional, watchful observers should see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zipping past. Those along the immediate coast of the south shore of Long Island, for example Robert Moses State Park, and northern New Jersey, for example Sandy Hook, should see a good morning flight of songbirds continuing their nocturnal flights. Favorable conditions for migration continue through Tuesday night, so each new day should see a new set of birds visiting stopover habitats in and around the city and passing overhead.  By Wednesday, a new pattern begins to emerge, as more southerly and southwesterly winds build into our area. Skies will be clear, but the numbers of migrants will decline from their early week peaks. However, birds that move into the area by Wednesday morning will likely continue through Friday, as birds await the next major frontal passage.

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