Migration update: early trans-Gulf migration on 11 March

Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Mar 12, 2021

Over the coming weeks, our excitement about arriving migrants in the Gulf of Mexico region from Central and South America and the Caribbean will build to fever-pitch! But that’s no reason to skimp on the excitement, so we decided to kickstart the emotion early!

Yesterday (11 March 2021), some of the first apparent inbound trans-Gulf bird migration appeared on radar over the western Gulf of Mexico. Check out the following animation, showing the low intensity migration offshore of Brownsville, Corpus Christi, and Houston.

Note the light, stippled pattern of pixels in these areas over the Gulf of Mexico, apparent in slightly different locations in each frame. These pixels represent low intensity migration, birds that were moving generally to the north, perhaps to points inland from the mid Texas coast into western Louisiana (i.e. depending on the species, their condition, and the tailwinds these birds experienced). As spring progresses, we will see such patterns becoming increasingly regular when favorable and even marginal atmospheric conditions (e.g. southerly or calm winds without extensive precipitation) occur over the Gulf of Mexico and points to the south where birds will be originating.

Get out there to see what’s arriving and submit your observations to eBird!