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Spotlight on the Central US: intense spring migration traffic

This weekend will feature some intense migration in the central US, the first of several intense pulses as we approach the peak period of migration intensity for the spring. Particularly striking is the forecast for Sunday evening, 29-30 April 2018, when a corridor of medium to high migration traffic is predicted aloft from Mexico to Canada.

Looking more closely at weather conditions that may be responsible for this pattern, we see a strong high pressure center (H) is forecast to be south of the Great Lakes on Sunday morning. We also see little to no forecast precipitation (only a splotch of green). To the west of the H, notice the patterns of isobars (lines of constant pressure that are useful for representing wind speed) that highlight favorable southerly flow (winds blowing generally from south to north). This pattern of wind speeds and directions is quite common in the spring in this region (you may have heard about a phenomenon called low-level jets), making for favorable travel conditions for the enormous numbers of migrants usually on the move over these areas.

We expect a good diversity of species on the move in the central US, including the following:

Beginning Arrivals What is this?

Species Noticeability Migrants Begin Arriving Rapid Migrant Influx Peak Rapid Migrant Departure Last Migrants Depart
Brown Thrasher ****! 4/2 4/28 5/7 6/9 6/29
Grasshopper Sparrow *** 4/5 5/27 After Jun 30 - -
Lincoln's Sparrow *** 4/6 4/28 5/4 5/14 5/21
Cassin's Sparrow * 4/7 5/1 6/13 After Jun 30 -
Marbled Godwit * 4/9 6/5 6/13 6/21 After Jun 30
Yellow-rumped Warbler ****! 4/11 4/28 5/4 5/15 5/23
Black-crowned Night-Heron * 4/12 6/4 6/13 After Jun 30 -
House Wren ****! 4/16 4/28 5/12 5/21 6/9
Spotted Sandpiper ****! 4/18 4/28 5/12 5/24 6/1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird *** 4/18 5/1 5/16 5/23 6/12
Eastern Kingbird ****! 4/18 4/30 5/24 6/24 6/26
White-crowned Sparrow ****! 4/19 4/28 5/4 5/14 5/21
Warbling Vireo ****! 4/20 4/29 5/15 5/23 After Jun 30
Orange-crowned Warbler ****! 4/21 4/28 5/5 5/15 5/22
Kentucky Warbler *** 4/21 5/2 5/12 5/29 6/5
Summer Tanager ****! 4/21 5/1 5/10 5/18 After Jun 30
Great Crested Flycatcher ****! 4/23 4/30 5/12 6/26 After Jun 30
Painted Bunting *** 4/23 5/1 6/3 6/29 After Jun 30
Dickcissel ****! 4/23 5/1 After Jun 30 - -
Baltimore Oriole ****! 4/23 4/30 5/12 5/23 6/27
Mississippi Kite *** 4/24 5/3 5/16 6/12 6/15
Palm Warbler *** 4/24 4/29 5/5 5/24 5/26
Clay-colored Sparrow ****! 4/24 5/1 5/9 5/18 5/24
Yellow-throated Vireo *** 4/25 5/1 5/11 5/27 After Jun 30
Red-eyed Vireo ****! 4/25 5/2 5/27 6/4 After Jun 30
Common Yellowthroat ****! 4/25 5/3 5/18 6/24 6/29
Scarlet Tanager *** 4/25 5/4 5/20 6/6 6/11
Bell's Vireo *** 4/26 5/6 6/3 6/9 6/28
Blue-headed Vireo *** 4/26 4/30 5/9 5/19 5/23
Wood Thrush *** 4/26 5/2 5/13 5/21 6/3
Black-and-white Warbler ****! 4/26 5/3 5/9 5/13 6/5
Nashville Warbler ****! 4/26 4/30 5/7 5/20 5/26
Indigo Bunting ****! 4/26 5/2 5/10 6/5 After Jun 30
Red-headed Woodpecker ****! 4/28 5/5 5/15 6/4 6/8
Sedge Wren * 4/28 6/11 6/14 6/20 6/23
Swainson's Thrush ****! 4/28 5/5 5/12 5/23 5/30
Northern Waterthrush *** 4/28 5/3 5/11 5/23 5/28
Lark Bunting *** 4/28 5/9 5/31 6/24 After Jun 30
Black-headed Grosbeak *** 4/28 5/7 6/4 After Jun 30 -
Common Nighthawk *** 4/29 5/22 5/30 6/5 After Jun 30
Least Flycatcher ****! 4/29 5/5 5/13 5/24 5/28
Gray Catbird ****! 4/29 5/5 5/17 5/24 5/29
Tennessee Warbler ****! 4/29 5/3 5/17 5/24 5/29
Yellow Warbler ****! 4/29 5/4 5/16 5/24 5/28
Orchard Oriole ****! 4/29 5/6 6/2 6/8 6/10
Philadelphia Vireo *** 4/30 5/6 5/16 5/24 6/1
Yellow-breasted Chat *** 4/30 5/29 6/2 6/8 6/11
Rose-breasted Grosbeak ****! 4/30 5/5 5/10 5/23 5/26
Blue Grosbeak *** 4/30 5/30 6/5 6/10 6/13
Bobolink *** 4/30 5/12 6/14 6/23 After Jun 30
Eastern Wood-Pewee ****! 5/1 5/8 5/17 6/25 After Jun 30
Acadian Flycatcher *** 5/1 5/5 5/24 5/28 After Jun 30
Yellow-billed Cuckoo *** 5/2 5/24 5/31 After Jun 30 -
Gray-cheeked Thrush *** 5/2 5/7 5/12 5/24 5/28
Ovenbird *** 5/3 5/8 5/16 5/23 5/27
American Redstart ****! 5/3 5/10 5/18 5/24 5/28
Chestnut-sided Warbler *** 5/3 5/7 5/18 5/25 5/30
Blackpoll Warbler ****! 5/3 5/7 5/14 5/25 5/29
Wilson's Warbler ****! 5/3 5/7 5/13 5/24 5/28
Willow Flycatcher *** 5/4 5/16 6/13 6/29 After Jun 30
Magnolia Warbler *** 5/4 5/8 5/18 5/24 5/29

Peaking Arrivals

Species Noticeability Migrants Begin Arriving Rapid Migrant Influx Peak Rapid Migrant Departure Last Migrants Depart
Eastern Phoebe *** 3/2 3/12 5/5 5/18 After Jun 30
Common Grackle *** 3/2 3/13 5/21 6/11 After Jun 30
Wood Duck ** 3/2 3/24 5/6 5/24 6/7
Pectoral Sandpiper ** 3/25 3/28 5/16 5/24 5/30
Turkey Vulture *** 3/14 3/30 5/9 5/18 After Jun 30
Field Sparrow *** 3/12 3/31 4/28 5/11 5/18
Tree Swallow *** 3/24 4/1 5/1 6/25 After Jun 30
Ruby-crowned Kinglet *** 3/26 4/1 5/1 5/12 5/24
Louisiana Waterthrush ** 3/25 4/2 5/5 5/17 5/22
White-eyed Vireo * 3/19 4/4 5/23 6/12 After Jun 30
Purple Martin *** 3/20 4/4 5/7 After Jun 30 -
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher *** 3/26 4/5 5/6 5/17 5/22
Northern Parula *** 4/1 4/8 5/7 5/18 5/24
Little Blue Heron ** 3/29 4/10 4/29 5/8 5/18
Say's Phoebe * 3/23 4/14 6/11 6/26 After Jun 30
Yellow-headed Blackbird ** 4/7 4/14 6/15 6/20 6/24
Western Grebe * 4/1 4/16 6/12 After Jun 30 -
Cattle Egret * 3/30 4/16 6/22 After Jun 30 -
Sora ** 4/10 4/17 5/17 6/21 After Jun 30
Broad-winged Hawk *** 4/6 4/20 4/29 5/21 5/27
Upland Sandpiper *** 4/3 4/20 5/6 5/11 5/18
Forster's Tern ** 4/13 4/20 5/13 5/20 After Jun 30
Prothonotary Warbler ** 4/6 4/20 5/7 5/21 6/4
Lark Sparrow *** 4/7 4/20 5/8 5/16 After Jun 30
Least Sandpiper *** 4/18 4/21 5/14 5/21 5/27
Semipalmated Sandpiper *** 4/13 4/21 5/15 5/24 6/2
Long-billed Dowitcher *** 4/17 4/21 5/1 5/20 5/27
Wilson's Phalarope ****! 4/16 4/21 4/28 5/22 After Jun 30
Peregrine Falcon ** 4/12 4/21 5/4 5/16 5/27
Northern Rough-winged Swallow *** 3/30 4/21 5/4 5/21 5/27
Brown-headed Cowbird *** 3/14 4/21 5/11 5/19 6/10
Willet *** 4/17 4/22 4/29 5/6 After Jun 30
Barn Swallow ****! 4/3 4/22 5/18 6/29 After Jun 30
Green Heron *** 4/12 4/23 5/14 6/5 6/11
Cliff Swallow *** 4/11 4/23 6/16 6/24 After Jun 30
Harris's Sparrow *** 4/17 4/23 5/2 5/13 5/22
Solitary Sandpiper *** 4/16 4/25 5/3 5/11 5/23
White-throated Sparrow *** 4/18 4/25 5/1 5/11 5/23
Chimney Swift *** 4/16 4/26 5/13 6/9 6/14
Western Kingbird *** 4/20 4/26 6/6 6/26 After Jun 30
Chipping Sparrow ****! 3/31 4/26 5/6 5/18 5/27
Eastern Towhee ** 3/23 4/26 5/9 5/22 5/31
Bank Swallow *** 4/13 4/27 5/15 5/24 After Jun 30
Spotted Sandpiper *** 4/18 4/28 5/12 5/24 6/1
House Wren ****! 4/16 4/28 5/12 5/21 6/9
Brown Thrasher ****! 4/2 4/28 5/7 6/9 6/29
Orange-crowned Warbler ****! 4/21 4/28 5/5 5/15 5/22
Yellow-rumped Warbler ****! 4/11 4/28 5/4 5/15 5/23
White-crowned Sparrow ****! 4/19 4/28 5/4 5/14 5/21
Lincoln's Sparrow *** 4/6 4/28 5/4 5/14 5/21
Warbling Vireo ****! 4/20 4/29 5/15 5/23 After Jun 30
Palm Warbler *** 4/24 4/29 5/5 5/24 5/26
Great Crested Flycatcher ****! 4/23 4/30 5/12 6/26 After Jun 30
Eastern Kingbird ****! 4/18 4/30 5/24 6/24 6/26
Blue-headed Vireo *** 4/26 4/30 5/9 5/19 5/23
Nashville Warbler ****! 4/26 4/30 5/7 5/20 5/26
Baltimore Oriole ****! 4/23 4/30 5/12 5/23 6/27
Ruby-throated Hummingbird *** 4/18 5/1 5/16 5/23 6/12
Yellow-throated Vireo *** 4/25 5/1 5/11 5/27 After Jun 30
Cassin's Sparrow * 4/7 5/1 6/13 After Jun 30 -
Clay-colored Sparrow ****! 4/24 5/1 5/9 5/18 5/24
Summer Tanager *** 4/21 5/1 5/10 5/18 After Jun 30
Painted Bunting ** 4/23 5/1 6/3 6/29 After Jun 30
Dickcissel *** 4/23 5/1 After Jun 30 - -
Red-eyed Vireo *** 4/25 5/2 5/27 6/4 After Jun 30
Wood Thrush *** 4/26 5/2 5/13 5/21 6/3
Kentucky Warbler *** 4/21 5/2 5/12 5/29 6/5
Indigo Bunting ****! 4/26 5/2 5/10 6/5 After Jun 30
Mississippi Kite *** 4/24 5/3 5/16 6/12 6/15
Northern Waterthrush *** 4/28 5/3 5/11 5/23 5/28
Black-and-white Warbler *** 4/26 5/3 5/9 5/13 6/5
Tennessee Warbler ****! 4/29 5/3 5/17 5/24 5/29
Common Yellowthroat ****! 4/25 5/3 5/18 6/24 6/29
Yellow Warbler ****! 4/29 5/4 5/16 5/24 5/28
Scarlet Tanager ** 4/25 5/4 5/20 6/6 6/11
Red-headed Woodpecker *** 4/28 5/5 5/15 6/4 6/8
Acadian Flycatcher ** 5/1 5/5 5/24 5/28 After Jun 30
Least Flycatcher ****! 4/29 5/5 5/13 5/24 5/28
Swainson's Thrush ****! 4/28 5/5 5/12 5/23 5/30
Gray Catbird ****! 4/29 5/5 5/17 5/24 5/29
Rose-breasted Grosbeak ****! 4/30 5/5 5/10 5/23 5/26

Beginning Departures

Species Noticeability Migrants Begin Arriving Rapid Migrant Influx Peak Rapid Migrant Departure Last Migrants Depart
Northern Pintail ** - 3/2 3/12 6/25 After Jun 30
Gadwall *** 3/11 3/17 3/25 After Jun 30 -
Lesser Scaup *** 3/2 3/17 3/28 4/29 After Jun 30
Killdeer ** 3/2 3/7 3/31 5/2 After Jun 30
Sharp-shinned Hawk ** 3/23 3/29 4/5 4/28 5/13
Ruddy Duck *** 3/2 3/16 4/6 5/5 After Jun 30
Common Loon * 3/16 3/24 4/6 5/8 5/14
Belted Kingfisher ** 3/2 3/23 4/9 5/20 6/4
Northern Shoveler *** 3/10 3/16 4/14 5/1 After Jun 30
Double-crested Cormorant *** 3/12 3/28 4/14 4/29 After Jun 30
Horned Grebe ** 3/9 3/17 4/16 5/6 5/18
Wilson's Snipe * 3/2 4/8 4/17 6/20 After Jun 30
Pied-billed Grebe *** 3/16 4/8 4/18 4/30 5/11
Bonaparte's Gull *** 3/29 4/6 4/18 5/1 5/13
American Pipit ** 3/2 3/14 4/19 5/7 5/18
Greater Yellowlegs *** 3/12 3/22 4/20 4/30 5/9
American White Pelican *** 3/13 3/16 4/21 4/29 6/27
American Coot *** 3/14 4/9 4/21 4/30 5/26
Hermit Thrush ** 3/23 4/2 4/22 5/10 5/18
Vesper Sparrow *** 3/24 3/31 4/22 5/1 5/9
Blue-winged Teal *** 3/11 3/19 4/23 5/23 6/25
Osprey *** 4/6 4/13 4/23 5/5 5/9
Swainson's Hawk *** 3/31 4/9 4/23 5/2 After Jun 30
Hudsonian Godwit *** 4/11 4/17 4/23 4/29 5/26
Franklin's Gull *** 4/2 4/13 4/23 5/1 5/24
Yellow-throated Warbler * 3/17 4/2 4/23 5/20 6/5
Great Blue Heron *** 3/2 3/22 4/24 5/19 After Jun 30
Great Egret *** 3/24 4/8 4/24 5/8 After Jun 30
Baird's Sandpiper *** 3/14 3/27 4/24 5/24 6/2
Savannah Sparrow *** 3/16 4/17 4/24 5/7 6/23
American Avocet ** 4/9 4/17 4/25 6/23 After Jun 30
Semipalmated Plover ** 4/13 4/20 4/25 5/24 6/1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher * 3/28 4/7 4/25 6/12 After Jun 30
Eared Grebe ** 4/7 4/17 4/26 6/21 After Jun 30
White-faced Ibis ** 4/9 4/18 4/26 5/23 After Jun 30
Black-necked Stilt * 4/9 4/17 4/26 5/2 After Jun 30
Lesser Yellowlegs *** 3/29 4/21 4/26 5/22 5/29
Snowy Egret * 4/1 4/12 4/27 6/29 After Jun 30
Wilson's Phalarope *** 4/16 4/21 4/28 5/22 After Jun 30
Field Sparrow ** 3/12 3/31 4/28 5/11 5/18
Little Blue Heron * 3/29 4/10 4/29 5/8 5/18
Broad-winged Hawk ** 4/6 4/20 4/29 5/21 5/27
Willet *** 4/17 4/22 4/29 5/6 After Jun 30
Long-billed Dowitcher *** 4/17 4/21 5/1 5/20 5/27
Tree Swallow *** 3/24 4/1 5/1 6/25 After Jun 30
Ruby-crowned Kinglet *** 3/26 4/1 5/1 5/12 5/24
White-throated Sparrow *** 4/18 4/25 5/1 5/11 5/23
Harris's Sparrow *** 4/17 4/23 5/2 5/13 5/22
Solitary Sandpiper *** 4/16 4/25 5/3 5/11 5/23
Peregrine Falcon ** 4/12 4/21 5/4 5/16 5/27
Northern Rough-winged Swallow *** 3/30 4/21 5/4 5/21 5/27
Yellow-rumped Warbler *** 4/11 4/28 5/4 5/15 5/23
White-crowned Sparrow *** 4/19 4/28 5/4 5/14 5/21
Lincoln's Sparrow *** 4/6 4/28 5/4 5/14 5/21
Eastern Phoebe *** 3/2 3/12 5/5 5/18 After Jun 30
Louisiana Waterthrush *** 3/25 4/2 5/5 5/17 5/22
Orange-crowned Warbler *** 4/21 4/28 5/5 5/15 5/22
Palm Warbler *** 4/24 4/29 5/5 5/24 5/26

Ending Departures

Species Noticeability Migrants Begin Arriving Rapid Migrant Influx Peak Rapid Migrant Departure Last Migrants Depart
Redhead ** - 3/2 3/14 3/29 After Jun 30
Ring-necked Duck *** - 3/2 3/19 4/2 5/7
Herring Gull ** - - Before Mar 1 4/2 4/30
Bufflehead *** 3/2 3/14 3/23 4/6 5/8
Ring-billed Gull *** 3/2 3/10 3/18 4/8 After Jun 30
Song Sparrow ** 3/12 3/17 3/31 4/11 After Jun 30
Northern Harrier ** 3/2 3/7 3/17 4/26 After Jun 30
American Kestrel *** - 3/2 3/30 4/26 5/5
American Wigeon ** - 3/2 3/24 4/27 After Jun 30
Green-winged Teal *** 3/2 3/13 3/27 4/27 5/8
Sharp-shinned Hawk ** 3/23 3/29 4/5 4/28 5/13
Lesser Scaup *** 3/2 3/17 3/28 4/29 After Jun 30
Double-crested Cormorant *** 3/12 3/28 4/14 4/29 After Jun 30
American White Pelican * 3/13 3/16 4/21 4/29 6/27
Hudsonian Godwit ** 4/11 4/17 4/23 4/29 5/26
Pied-billed Grebe *** 3/16 4/8 4/18 4/30 5/11
American Coot *** 3/14 4/9 4/21 4/30 5/26
Greater Yellowlegs *** 3/12 3/22 4/20 4/30 5/9
Northern Shoveler *** 3/10 3/16 4/14 5/1 After Jun 30
Bonaparte's Gull *** 3/29 4/6 4/18 5/1 5/13
Franklin's Gull *** 4/2 4/13 4/23 5/1 5/24
Vesper Sparrow *** 3/24 3/31 4/22 5/1 5/9
Swainson's Hawk * 3/31 4/9 4/23 5/2 After Jun 30
Black-necked Stilt * 4/9 4/17 4/26 5/2 After Jun 30
Killdeer * 3/2 3/7 3/31 5/2 After Jun 30
Ruddy Duck ** 3/2 3/16 4/6 5/5 After Jun 30
Osprey *** 4/6 4/13 4/23 5/5 5/9

 

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