First arrivals: “Spring” 2019 BirdCast

Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Mar 12, 2019

With the vernal equinox approaching, Team BirdCast welcomes back our forecast and live migration maps for the spring 2019 season! Of course, if you’ve been following some of the publications from our group in the last year or so, you will know that we have opened our doors, so to speak, a little early given that we are still many weeks away from the heaviest nocturnal movements of the spring over the United States. And furthermore, with more than half of the country more likely to have below normal temperatures than not in the coming 6-10 days, kicking off the Spring 2019 season could seem like a miscue or misnomer or just a plain mistake.

Cooler than normal temperatures are expected in many areas of the country, particularly in the Gulf Coast and Southeast BirdCast region. Note, however, that warmer than normal temperatures are likely in Pacific states and Alaska. With temperature a primary cue for many migrants, particularly early season migrants, we expect to see favorable conditions for movements in the West and unfavorable conditions in the Southeast.

Species on the Move

But we are looking on the bright side … birds are on the move!

Take a look at this graphic showing progress of Eastern Phoebe. Steady northward movement is clear in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest, and some individual phoebes are clearly advancing faster than the first arrival wave.

And also… Tree Swallow. We see similar steady progress, as well as some seriously advanced arrivals in the Upper Midwest.

Stay tuned!