Point Pelee, Ontario. Migration Forecast 5/13-15

Point Pelee, Ontario. Migration Forecast 5/13-15

I had way too much fun at Point Pelee to just walk away and not follow through with the coming migration, despite my return to Madison, Wisconsin. So, here’s the forecast as I see it:

Monday Night

Winds start out of the northwest which typically precludes migration, but they will turn southerly throughout the night which should allow birds to migrate into the region throughout the late tonight and early morning tomorrow. The magnitude of migration will depend on whether the winds slacken enough and/or how early they switch around to the south. Birds to our south have been in a holding pattern for several days so are primed to migrate, so expect them to go at the first opportunity. Expect more Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers, and Warbling Vireos to arrive on Tuesday as they’re quite plentiful on the south shore right now.

Here is the 925mb wind forecast for the next 192 hours: http://goo.gl/vbd7K
and here is the surface wind forecast for the same period: http://goo.gl/pXO4V


Winds will have turned southerly by Tuesday morning meaning diurnal migrants will be arriving throughout the day. Cloud cover may preclude any major arrival of soaring raptors, but the time is right for Mississippi Kite, so keep at least one eye to the sky!

Tuesday Night

Winds will have turned around to the south on Tuesday and continue to be out of the south (and southwest) throughout the night and into Wednesday morning. Expect heavy migration into (and out of) the region on Tuesday night. With no precipitation or opposing winds to put birds down on Wednesday morning, many birds will move clear over Point Pelee throughout the night. Anyone interested in nocturnal flight calls should find a sheltered location on Tuesday night to listen for birds migrating overhead.


By Wednesday morning expect new birds to be present throughout Point Pelee NP as well as the entire northwest shore of Lake Erie. Because of the widespread nature of the migration event, finding concentrations of birds will be more a function of geography than weather. In cases like these it’s best to hit the known spring hotspot areas, or those areas which typically hold birds in spring. Given the warm temperatures and clear skies, expect high thermal activity throughout the day. This will trigger diurnal raptor migration throughout the region and may produce some interesting birds such as Mississippi Kite.

I will continue to post the animations for the nearby radar through Wednesday morning, to see how it plays out. I will appreciate your feedback in the comments section of each post so we can both better understand the relationship between migration across the landscape and birding conditions at Point Pelee NP.

Until tomorrow morning,

Good Birding!

A well decorated Piping Plover at The Tip. Point Pelee, NP
A well decorated Piping Plover at The Tip. Point Pelee, NP

2 responses to “Point Pelee, Ontario. Migration Forecast 5/13-15”

  1. Pelee, as a peninsula pointing southwards generally gets vagrants such as MIKI on north winds – presumably as they attempt to return to their normal range after overshooting into Ontario or Michigan. Birders in Ohio will likely be the ones to see that species as they are pushed against the lakeshore by the south winds.

    Winds have switched southwards by Monday afternoon here, so we’re expecting a reasonable migration overnight (due to the *primed* migrants being ready – as you stated) and have hopes for a very enjoyable day tomorrow. Although not the massive migration event we’ve been expecting for days on Tues Eve/Wednesday morning!

    Just my two cents…


    • Brandon,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to give some local perspective. Your point about MIKI makes total sense, and is similar to the conditions which bring them to Cape May, NJ (and STKI as well). In Cape May, also a south-facing peninsula, southwest winds bring the masses of spring migrants, but northwest winds bring the spring vagrants. Northerly flow will eventually follow all of this migration and could potentially produce something interesting later in the week. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow compares to Wednesday in terms of density and diversity of migrant songbirds. Birds are already moving over the Cleveland NEXRAD tonight, but the density across the stations to the west is much higher. Presumably those higher densities will be experienced south of Pelee tomorrow night. As of right now birds are moving SW->NE across Pelee which would suggest that Rondeau and points east would be better tomorrow… but that may shift during the night/morning. Here’s a link to the current static image of migration across the U.S.: U.S. Radar Composite

      I hope you’ll come back and provide some feedback in the coming days as migration unfolds. I wish I could be there to experience it myself!

      Cheers, and Good Birding,



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: