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17-24 April 2015 Forecast: Migration in high gear in South, many new arrivals in North

Painted Bunting © Ian Davies

Painted Bunting © Ian Davies

Continental Summary

From Monday to Thursday many areas of the West see light to moderate migration featuring Dunlin, Willet, Least Sandpiper, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Green-tailed Towhee, while several disturbances passing through the East spawn fallouts along the Gulf Coast and moderate to heavy movements of numerous shorebirds, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Palm Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and White-throated Sparrow in advance of frontal passages.

Wondering what’s on the move now? Check out our analysis from this past week.

Arrows show wind speed and direction (arrow points in the direction to which wind is blowing) 100 m above ground level. Areas with southerly winds are colored red; northerly winds colored blue. Accumulated precipitation (in 6 hour intervals) is green, outlined by white. Broadly speaking, areas of the map in red will experience conditions that are favorable for migration, and areas where red and green (and red and blue) intersect and overlap may experience migrant concentrations and fallouts as migrants interact with precipitation.

We use data collected by eBird users help make more accurate forecasts. If you enjoy the predictions contained in these posts, please consider submitting your own bird sightings to eBird to even further improve the content. Every observation counts, whether it be a single bird at a feeder in your backyard, or an entire day spent in a national park. To get started with eBird, head on over to the site!

Need a review of our definitions for regions, species on the move, and migration amounts? Please visit this link.

Quick Links to Regions

Upper Midwest and NortheastBirdCast Upper Midwest and Northeast Region Gulf Coast and SoutheastBirdCast Upper Southeast Region
Great Plainsbirdcast_plains West
BirdCast West Region

Upper Midwest and Northeast

Low pressure pushes into the western Great Lakes on Saturday night, bringing southerly winds and scattered moderate to locally heavy flights where rain is not falling. Although migration may be widespread on Sunday night, precipitation may shut down movements or cause some local concentrations and fallouts, particularly in the Appalachians and Great Lakes, depending on whether rains start before or after birds take flight. Migrants will track the advance of this system, gradually appearing farther east through Tuesday.

Tuesday will be a nice day to watch the sky, as southerly flow will bring a new influx of raptors, swallows, and other day time flyers. Note, also, for those who listen to flight calls of nocturnally migrating birds, Monday and Tuesday nights will provide an opportunity to listen, as migrants will be flying in southerly winds and probably encounter cloud cover and low visibility, inspiring increased calling, particularly in the vicinity of artificial lights.

As low pressure exits New England on Wednesday, with a nice pulse of migration occurring there prior to the disturbance’s passage, more southerly flow builds into the Mississippi River valley and Great Lakes, bringing a new pulse of moderate to heavy flights. But the week’s end will be significantly quieter in most of the region, as northerly flow and cooler temperatures will keep most migrants grounded.

Prothonotary Warbler © Ryan Schain

Prothonotary Warbler © Ryan Schain

Species on the Move

Beginning to Arrive What is this?

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Spotted Sandpiper 4/17 4/30 5/14 5/27
Chimney Swift 4/17 4/28 5/17 -
Kentucky Warbler 4/18 4/27 5/10 -
Hooded Warbler 4/18 4/27 5/10 -
House Wren 4/18 4/27 5/12 -
Summer Tanager 4/19 4/27 5/9 5/17
Red-headed Woodpecker 4/19 4/28 5/9 -
Cerulean Warbler 4/19 4/28 5/12 -
Grasshopper Sparrow 4/19 4/28 6/10 -
Blue Grosbeak 4/19 4/28 - -
Solitary Sandpiper 4/20 4/27 5/7 5/18
Blue-winged Warbler 4/20 4/28 5/10 5/18
Orange-crowned Warbler 4/21 4/29 5/8 5/19
Black-and-white Warbler 4/21 4/29 5/9 5/19
Yellow-throated Vireo 4/21 4/30 5/13 -
Orchard Oriole 4/21 4/30 5/13 -
Yellow-breasted Chat 4/21 4/29 6/11 -
Black-throated Green Warbler 4/22 4/30 5/10 5/20
Northern Waterthrush 4/22 4/30 5/10 5/21
Northern Parula 4/22 4/30 5/10 5/21
Wood Thrush 4/22 5/1 5/13 -
Yellow Warbler 4/22 5/1 5/14 -
Warbling Vireo 4/22 5/1 5/15 -
Sedge Wren 4/22 5/7 6/12 -
White-crowned Sparrow 4/23 4/29 5/8 5/19
Nashville Warbler 4/23 4/30 5/9 5/19
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4/23 5/1 5/12 5/21
Ovenbird 4/23 5/1 5/13 -
Gray Catbird 4/23 5/2 5/15 -
Clay-colored Sparrow 4/23 5/2 5/16 -
Eastern Kingbird 4/23 5/3 5/20 -
Great Crested Flycatcher 4/23 5/3 5/20 -
Marsh Wren 4/23 5/5 5/22 -
Lincoln's Sparrow 4/24 5/1 5/11 5/22
Baltimore Oriole 4/24 5/2 5/15 5/24
Common Yellowthroat 4/24 5/3 5/18 -

Arriving

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4/5 4/17 5/3 5/16
White-throated Sparrow 4/9 4/18 4/28 5/11
Barn Swallow 4/5 4/19 5/18 -
White-eyed Vireo 4/10 4/20 5/4 -
Prothonotary Warbler 4/9 4/21 5/8 5/22
Willet 4/11 4/21 5/21 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4/10 4/22 5/3 5/16
Lesser Yellowlegs 3/29 4/23 5/4 5/18
Palm Warbler 4/2 4/24 5/4 5/16
Sora 4/12 4/24 5/7 5/20
Worm-eating Warbler 4/16 4/24 5/6 -
Prairie Warbler 4/14 4/24 5/7 -

Peaking

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Pectoral Sandpiper 3/16 3/29 4/17 5/24
Blue-winged Teal 3/14 3/31 4/18 5/2
Osprey 3/13 3/29 4/19 -
Double-crested Cormorant 3/18 4/1 4/19 -
Belted Kingfisher 3/25 4/4 4/19 -
Northern Flicker 3/25 4/5 4/20 -
Hermit Thrush 3/30 4/8 4/21 5/3
Sharp-shinned Hawk 3/24 4/10 4/22 5/9
Pine Warbler 3/29 4/9 4/23 -
Purple Finch 4/5 4/14 4/24 5/4
Yellow-throated Warbler 3/29 4/9 4/24 5/7
Cooper's Hawk 3/16 4/9 4/24 5/13
Merlin 3/29 4/9 4/24 5/25
Caspian Tern 3/30 4/9 4/24 -

Departing

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
American Tree Sparrow - - 3/1 4/18
Fox Sparrow - 3/2 4/4 4/19
Northern Gannet 3/14 3/24 4/5 4/19
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3/23 3/31 4/9 4/20
Red-throated Loon - - - 4/20
Red-breasted Merganser - - 3/19 4/21
Bufflehead - - 3/27 4/21
Dark-eyed Junco - - 4/2 4/22
Brown Creeper 3/24 4/1 4/10 4/23
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 3/26 4/3 4/13 4/23
Green-winged Teal - - 3/31 4/24
Northern Harrier - - 4/6 4/24
Bonaparte's Gull 3/18 3/30 4/11 4/24

Gulf Coast and Southeast

Another round of diverse weather conditions, including precipitation over the Gulf of Mexico and along the Gulf Coast, will make the weekend and first half of the week quite interesting, particularly so as conditions in migrants’ source areas to the south facilitate arrivals across the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Strait. Saturday’s forecast is more favorable for western Gulf Coast action, and Sunday’s forecast more favorable for easter Gulf Coast action. Regardless, birders should watch for fallouts and local concentrations along the full extent of the Gulf Coast, where arriving trans-Gulf migrants encounter precipitation, whether in northerly winds or more favorable flow. The cool air mass and approaching high pressure driving these disturbances toward and into the Gulf of Mexico move deeper into the region, beginning on Monday and Tuesday, but favorable flight conditions in the Caribbean continue to bring birds into the region.

The frontal boundary between this air mass and the warmer air mass over the Gulf will push far over the water, with precipitation and inbound migrants meeting. The direction of winds over and along the Gulf Coast will determine the arrival times of trans-Gulf flights, and any subsequent concentrations or fallouts, with northerly winds delaying inbound migrants until the later afternoon or evening and southerly winds bringing significantly earlier landings. As always, larger bodied and faster flying birds will arrive along the Gulf coast after crossing the Gulf of Mexico earlier in the day (e.g. morning), with the smaller bodied songbirds arriving later (early to mid afternoon).

As the frontal boundary pushes much farther east in the middle of the week, out of the region, high pressure builds, favorable flight conditions return, and a large exodus of birds featuring heavy and locally very heavy flights will occur. Note, some precipitation continues in the Gulf of Mexico even late in the period, making isolated local concentrations possible in Texas and the eastern Gulf Coast. Also note that the easterly flow over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean later in the week will bring a more Caribbean flavor to the western Gulf Coast (e.g. Blackpoll Warbler, Bobolink).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak © Ian Davies

Rose-breasted Grosbeak © Ian Davies

Beginning to Arrive What is this?

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Bay-breasted Warbler 4/17 4/25 5/5 5/15
American Redstart 4/18 4/27 5/6 5/18
Magnolia Warbler 4/19 4/27 5/6 5/17
Least Flycatcher 4/21 4/29 5/9 5/20
Wilson's Warbler 4/22 4/30 5/9 5/20
Olive-sided Flycatcher 4/22 5/1 5/12 5/24
White-rumped Sandpiper 4/22 5/1 5/14 5/27
Canada Warbler 4/23 5/1 5/11 5/22
Mourning Warbler 4/24 5/1 5/12 5/23

Arriving

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 4/10 4/17 4/27 5/8
Black-and-white Warbler 3/10 4/17 4/26 5/9
Baltimore Oriole 4/9 4/17 4/28 5/9
Cape May Warbler 4/10 4/17 4/28 5/9
Gray Catbird 4/9 4/17 4/27 5/10
Ovenbird 4/8 4/17 4/29 5/10
Northern Waterthrush 4/9 4/17 4/28 5/11
Black-throated Green Warbler 4/7 4/17 4/29 5/12
Western Kingbird 4/7 4/17 5/12 -
Common Nighthawk 4/8 4/17 5/18 -
Golden-winged Warbler 4/11 4/18 4/29 5/10
Common Yellowthroat 4/2 4/18 5/2 5/16
Yellow-breasted Chat 4/9 4/18 5/2 -
Painted Bunting 4/9 4/18 5/2 -
Black-throated Blue Warbler 4/11 4/19 4/30 5/11
Clay-colored Sparrow 3/25 4/19 4/29 5/12
Gray-cheeked Thrush 4/11 4/19 4/30 5/12
Veery 4/12 4/19 5/1 5/12
Blackpoll Warbler 4/12 4/20 5/2 5/14
Swainson's Thrush 4/9 4/20 5/3 5/17
Stilt Sandpiper 4/6 4/21 5/4 5/21
Dickcissel 4/13 4/22 5/6 5/17
Spotted Sandpiper 4/10 4/22 5/5 5/20
Bobolink 4/15 4/23 5/4 5/15
Least Sandpiper - 4/23 5/1 5/16
Wilson's Phalarope 4/13 4/23 5/5 5/17
Yellow Warbler 4/13 4/23 5/5 5/18
Mississippi Kite 4/13 4/23 5/7 -
Blackburnian Warbler 4/12 4/24 5/5 5/18

Peaking

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Merlin - 4/7 4/17 4/30
Piping Plover - 4/1 4/17 5/1
Swainson's Hawk 3/16 3/27 4/17 5/2
Northern Parula - 3/2 4/17 5/11
Royal Tern - 4/9 4/18 4/30
Sedge Wren 4/3 4/10 4/18 5/1
Laughing Gull 3/2 4/10 4/18 5/2
Marsh Wren - 4/10 4/18 5/2
Worm-eating Warbler 3/27 4/8 4/19 4/30
Blue-winged Warbler 3/30 4/8 4/19 5/1
Willet 3/9 4/11 4/19 5/1
Caspian Tern - - 4/19 5/2
Sanderling - - 4/19 5/30
Sandwich Tern 3/14 4/9 4/19 -
Gull-billed Tern 3/14 4/7 4/20 5/1
American Avocet 3/17 4/10 4/20 5/2
Franklin's Gull 3/27 4/6 4/20 5/3
Short-billed Dowitcher 3/19 4/7 4/20 5/7
Hooded Warbler 3/16 3/29 4/20 -
Swainson's Warbler 3/26 4/5 4/20 -
Common Tern 3/17 4/11 4/20 -
Cerulean Warbler 4/2 4/10 4/21 5/1
Black-necked Stilt 3/8 3/19 4/21 5/4
Sora 4/4 4/12 4/21 5/5
Dunlin - - 4/21 5/28
Couch's Kingbird 3/2 3/16 4/21 -
Wilson's Plover 3/2 4/13 4/21 -
Long-billed Dowitcher - - 4/22 5/6
Yellow-throated Vireo 3/12 3/28 4/22 -
Least Tern 3/28 4/7 4/22 -
Whimbrel 4/3 4/12 4/23 5/3
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 3/28 4/13 4/23 5/4
White-faced Ibis 3/20 4/14 4/23 5/5
Peregrine Falcon - - 4/23 5/6
White-crowned Sparrow - - 4/23 5/7
Ruddy Turnstone - - 4/23 5/20
Black-bellied Plover 4/6 4/14 4/24 5/7
Lesser Yellowlegs 3/11 4/15 4/24 5/10
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 3/2 3/18 4/24 -
Brown-crested Flycatcher 4/3 4/12 4/24 -
Least Bittern 3/20 4/14 4/24 -

Departing

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Cooper's Hawk - - 3/12 4/18
Red-breasted Merganser - - - 4/18
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - - 3/25 4/20
Broad-winged Hawk 3/20 3/31 4/13 4/23
Northern Harrier - - 3/1 4/24

Great Plains

Southerly winds associated with an arriving disturbance will bring moderate to heavy flights where precipitation is not falling. Some local concentrations of migrants are likely, particularly in portions of the central and southern Plains, where these flights encounter rain. The passing low pressure then quiets most of the region as northerly winds build behind its frontal boundary to begin the work week, before the next bout of moderate to heavy flights lift off on Tuesday night.

A more complex pattern of favorable and unfavorable conditions defines movements for the duration of the week, with moderate to locally heavy movements continuing but scattered across the Plains as the next low pressure center spins to the east. Birders in the central and southern Plains should, again, watch during the end of the week for local concentrations where birds aloft encounter precipitation.

Wilson's Phalarope © Ryan Schain

Wilson’s Phalarope © Ryan Schain

Species on the Move

Beginning to Arrive What is this?

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Least Sandpiper 4/17 4/28 5/9 5/23
Spotted Sandpiper 4/17 4/28 5/11 5/24
Eastern Kingbird 4/17 4/30 5/28 -
White-crowned Sparrow 4/18 4/25 5/4 5/15
Orange-crowned Warbler 4/18 4/26 5/6 5/17
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4/18 5/1 5/16 5/30
Summer Tanager 4/19 4/28 5/11 -
Western Kingbird 4/19 4/29 6/7 -
Palm Warbler 4/20 4/28 5/8 5/18
Kentucky Warbler 4/20 4/30 5/13 -
Warbling Vireo 4/20 4/30 5/14 -
Great Crested Flycatcher 4/20 4/30 5/15 -
Red-eyed Vireo 4/21 5/3 5/21 -
Nashville Warbler 4/22 4/29 5/9 5/19
Clay-colored Sparrow 4/22 4/29 5/9 5/19
Baltimore Oriole 4/22 5/1 5/14 5/24
Indigo Bunting 4/22 4/30 5/13 -
Yellow-throated Vireo 4/22 5/1 5/13 -
Painted Bunting 4/22 4/30 6/8 -
Sedge Wren 4/22 6/4 6/16 -
Blue-headed Vireo 4/23 4/30 5/9 5/19
Black-and-white Warbler 4/23 4/30 5/10 5/20
Black-throated Green Warbler 4/23 5/1 5/12 5/23
Mississippi Kite 4/23 5/1 5/17 -
Bullock's Oriole 4/23 5/1 6/3 -
Black-capped Vireo 4/23 5/13 6/4 -
Dickcissel 4/23 5/15 - -
Northern Waterthrush 4/24 5/1 5/11 5/22
Wood Thrush 4/24 5/2 5/13 5/24
Swainson's Thrush 4/24 5/2 5/13 5/24
Sanderling 4/24 5/4 5/16 5/29
Common Yellowthroat 4/24 5/4 5/19 -
Bell's Vireo 4/24 5/6 6/4 -

Arriving

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Semipalmated Plover 4/9 4/17 4/29 5/28
Semipalmated Sandpiper 4/8 4/17 5/12 5/29
Wilson's Phalarope 4/11 4/19 5/4 5/20
Willet 4/11 4/19 5/1 -
Forster's Tern 4/9 4/19 5/6 -
Cliff Swallow 4/7 4/19 6/17 -
Upland Sandpiper 4/3 4/19 - -
Long-billed Dowitcher 4/12 4/20 5/1 5/15
Barn Swallow 4/2 4/20 5/23 -
Black-crowned Night-Heron 4/4 4/20 6/15 -
White-throated Sparrow 4/11 4/21 5/1 5/14
Prothonotary Warbler 4/6 4/21 5/7 5/21
Lark Sparrow 4/6 4/21 5/5 -
Peregrine Falcon 4/8 4/22 5/4 5/18
Brown-headed Cowbird 3/17 4/22 5/11 -
Harris's Sparrow - 4/23 5/1 5/14
Solitary Sandpiper 4/14 4/23 5/3 5/14
Green Heron 4/11 4/23 5/13 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4/15 4/24 5/3 5/16
Chipping Sparrow 3/31 4/24 5/7 -
Chuck-will's-widow 4/15 4/24 6/1 -

Peaking

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Pied-billed Grebe 3/18 4/3 4/17 5/2
Wilson's Snipe - 3/2 4/17 -
Northern Shoveler - 3/19 4/17 -
American White Pelican 3/14 3/21 4/17 -
Cinnamon Teal 3/2 4/6 4/17 -
Greater Yellowlegs 3/11 3/20 4/18 5/3
American Coot 3/14 3/22 4/19 5/2
Bonaparte's Gull 3/26 4/7 4/19 5/2
Vesper Sparrow 3/18 4/2 4/20 -
American Pipit - - 4/21 5/6
Blue-winged Teal 3/11 3/23 4/21 5/12
Franklin's Gull 3/25 4/12 4/22 5/2
Swainson's Hawk 3/30 4/8 4/22 -
Osprey 4/4 4/13 4/23 5/4
Hermit Thrush 3/23 4/5 4/23 5/10
Baird's Sandpiper 3/12 3/22 4/23 5/24
Hudsonian Godwit 4/5 4/13 4/23 5/29
Great Blue Heron 3/2 3/24 4/24 -
Yellow-throated Warbler 3/18 4/1 4/24 -

Departing

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Gadwall - - 3/26 4/21
American Wigeon - - 3/24 4/23

West

A quiet start is in store for most of the West, with scattered light to moderate movements likely only in region’s southern reaches. By Monday and Tuesday nights, much more favorable conditions arrive and more widespread light to moderate flights follow, with some locally heavy flights in California and the Desert Southwest. During these flights many areas of the West will see new arrivals.

These favorable conditions persist to some extent through the end of the period, but they become increasingly limited in their distribution; light to moderate movements will also persist and follow a similar pattern of decrease in extent as the work week comes to an end when only California and the Desert Southwest experience movements.

Western Sandpiper © Ian Davies

Western Sandpiper © Ian Davies

Species on the Move

Beginning to Arrive What is this?

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Green-tailed Towhee 4/17 4/27 5/6 -
Chipping Sparrow 4/17 4/29 5/13 -
Yellow-breasted Chat 4/17 5/1 5/24 -
Blue Grosbeak 4/17 5/12 5/26 -
Olive-sided Flycatcher 4/17 5/3 6/4 -
Wilson's Phalarope 4/18 4/28 5/11 5/22
Sora 4/18 4/28 5/10 5/23
Warbling Vireo 4/18 5/1 6/2 -
Dusky Flycatcher 4/18 5/2 6/11 -
Townsend's Warbler 4/20 4/28 5/8 5/21
Black-headed Grosbeak 4/20 5/3 5/21 -
Yellow Warbler 4/20 5/7 5/21 -
Spotted Sandpiper 4/21 4/30 5/14 5/26
Western Tanager 4/22 5/4 5/20 -
MacGillivray's Warbler 4/22 5/6 5/24 -
Bullock's Oriole 4/23 5/5 5/19 -
Lark Bunting 4/24 5/4 5/17 -

Arriving

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Dunlin 4/10 4/17 4/26 5/9
Willet 4/10 4/17 4/27 5/9
Least Sandpiper 4/10 4/17 4/27 5/9
Western Sandpiper 4/9 4/17 4/28 5/10
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3/2 4/18 5/7 -
Green Heron 4/3 4/18 5/13 -
Whimbrel 3/18 4/19 4/28 5/10
Semipalmated Plover 4/11 4/19 4/29 5/11
Cassin's Vireo 3/28 4/19 5/10 -
Barn Swallow 3/28 4/19 5/18 -
Gray Flycatcher 4/8 4/20 5/5 -
Summer Tanager 4/11 4/20 5/5 -
Brewer's Sparrow 3/26 4/20 6/15 -
Calliope Hummingbird 4/6 4/20 6/16 -
Solitary Sandpiper 4/12 4/21 5/1 5/13
Vaux's Swift 4/11 4/22 5/7 5/16
Pacific-slope Flycatcher 3/15 4/22 6/3 -
Cassin's Kingbird 3/17 4/23 5/5 -
Hammond's Flycatcher 4/6 4/23 5/12 -
Long-billed Dowitcher 4/16 4/24 5/3 5/15
Wilson's Warbler 4/11 4/24 5/11 5/27
Hermit Warbler 4/13 4/24 5/7 -
Forster's Tern 4/12 4/24 5/9 -
Plumbeous Vireo 4/12 4/24 5/17 -

Peaking

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Yellow-rumped Warbler - - 4/18 5/17
Common Loon 3/31 4/9 4/20 5/3
Cinnamon Teal 3/2 4/6 4/20 -
Franklin's Gull 3/25 4/6 4/21 5/2
Eared Grebe - 4/7 4/21 5/11
Osprey 3/22 4/3 4/21 -
Black-bellied Plover - - 4/22 5/8
Bonaparte's Gull 4/2 4/13 4/24 5/5
Marbled Godwit - 4/16 4/24 5/6
Savannah Sparrow 3/26 4/8 4/24 -

Departing

Species Begin Arrival Rapid Influx Peak Rapid Depart
Gadwall - - 3/26 4/21
American Wigeon - - 3/24 4/23

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