Forecast and Analysis

Regional Migration Analysis: 24-31 October 2014

Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Oct 31, 2014

Continental Summary

Scattered light to moderate movements in the West stood in stark contrast to some massive movements in the East, particularly along the Atlantic Coast. Species on the move this week included Gadwall, Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, American Coot, Wilson’s Snipe, Bonaparte’s Gull, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Pine Siskin, and Purple Finch.


Early and late week pulses of light to moderate movements in the Desert Southwest provided most of the action for the region this week. However, Sunday night provided a nice contrast to these mostly inland movements with the most extensive light to moderate movements along the Pacific coast, with some of these movements in California continuing through the midweek period. Species on the move this week included Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Bonaparte’s Gull, Varied Thrush, Red-throated Loon, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Glaucous-winged Gull, Dunlin, Greater Scaup, American Tree Sparrow, Herring Gull, Mew Gull, Surf Scoter, and Peregrine Falcon.

Great Plains

Movements were primarily light to moderate and scattered to kick off and end the period, with the only more intense movement on Monday night in the central and southern reaches of the Plains. Note that none of the movements were widespread across the region, indicative of both the season and the prevailing largely marginal and unfavorable conditions for movements. Species on the move this week included Redhead, Lesser Scaup, Gadwall, Bald Eagle, Snow Bunting, Common Goldeneye, Canvasback, Cackling Goose, Rough-legged Hawk, Bufflehead, Northern Pintail, Bonaparte’s Gull, American Wigeon, Common Yellowthroat, and Snow Goose.

Upper Midwest and Northeast

Pulses of moderate movements were the norm across the region for this last week of October, punctuated particularly in coastal areas with some heavy and very heavy flights. Coastal portions of the region experienced these large and very large flights on more than half of the nights of the period, despite some other inland locations experiencing much less intense and frequent movements. Morning flights of nocturnal migrants made strong showings this week, with numerous reports of large movements, including among others from Cape May, NJ, Fire Island, NY, and Bluff Point, CT. These large flights, some of which were pushed coastward by strong westerly and northwesterly winds, were probably responsible for the large number of birds moving in coastal areas relative to movements at inland locations. Species on the move this week included Bufflehead, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Gadwall, Snow Bunting, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Eastern Bluebird, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, American Coot, American Goldfinch, Horned Grebe, Lark Sparrow, and American Woodcock. Team BirdCast also highlights the appearance of Cave Swallows in the region, including 2 from Cape May, NJ.

Gulf Coast and Southeast

Light to moderate movements scattered across Texas, the Gulf Coast and portions of the Southeast to kick off the weekend gradually diminished in to the early part of the week. A notable exception was the intense movements along the coast of the Carolinas and Georgia to kick off the work week, part of a large scale Atlantic coastal movement on Monday evening. With the advance of a strong front across the region, moderate to heavy flights began behind the front in Texas on Tuesday night, followed by widespread moderate to heavy movements on Wednesday night. These movements continued across the region, though generally less extensive; but note that the intensity of the flights actually increased along the same stretch of southeastern coast mentioned previously, with more heavy and very heavy flights. Species on the move this week included Ring-necked Duck, Redhead Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, Ruddy Duck, Wilson’s Snipe, American Coot, White-crowned Sparrow, Northern Shoveler, Dark-eyed Junco, Purple Finch, Green-winged Teal, Greater White-fronted Goose, Chipping Sparrow, and Yellow Rail.