Widespread migration across the U.S.

Widespread migration across the U.S.

National overview

It might still feel like summer across much of the U.S., but it’s late August and the lack of strong winds at all altitudes appears to have triggered widespread migration from coast to coast. The heaviest movement continued to be out of the Upper Midwest where birds could be seen streaming in from Southern Canada down through southwest Iowa. See below for a more detailed look at this region. You can also check out the entire loop from 3pm yesterday through 3pm today (eventually) on Paul Hurtado’s radar archive here.

national composite nexrad from around 11:00pm on 8/27/13
National Composite NEXRAD from around 11:00pm on 8/27/13

Below are the radar loops from sunset last night through 5:00am (central time) this morning

Upper Midwest


Frames are every 1/2 hour. click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

base reflectivity image from Duluth base velocity image from Duluth

base reflectivity image from Minnesota base velocity image from Minnesota

Birds continued their southbound progression across Minnesota last night with a major exodus apparent on the Duluth radar, and heavy flow over the Twin Cities. Check out the Duluth radar where you can see a massive exodus after sunset complete with a clear movement of birds off of the north and south shores of Lake Superior, all heading south. For Duluth birders this translates to less birds on the ground today, although you have to admit it’s pretty amazing to see the progression of these birds as they move across the region. Again, over the Twin Cities the radar indicates widespread moderate to heavy migration which will translate to new migrants on the ground this morning but with many of them well dispersed across the landscape.


Frames are every 1/2 hour. click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

base reflectivity image from green bay, wi base velocity image from green bay, wi

base reflectivity image from milwaukee base velocity image from milwaukee

base reflectivity image from la crosse, wi base velocity image from la crosse, wi

A heavy movement of birds pushed into the state again last night, with the highest densities continuing to pour in from the northwest. Westerly winds appear to have concentrated birds along the Lake Michigan shoreline which would favor lakeshore hotspots from the Door Peninsula down to Chicago. The La Crosse radar indicated heavy migration down the Mississippi River floodplain which will favor hotspots along this corridor as well.

Iowa & Illinois

Frames are every 1/2 hour. click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

base reflectivity image from chicago, il base velocity image from chicago, il
base reflectivity image from davenport, ia base velocity image from davenport, ia

The Davenport IA radar is quite interesting, as moderate westerly flow (wind-driven) across the radar early in the night is quickly overcome with southbound migrants later on. The lack of migration in the early part of the night indicates few birds were leaving the region, while the large pulse in the early morning means the area experienced a big influx of new birds. Birders in the area should hit up local migrant traps, small woodlots embedded in urban and/or agricultural landscapes, this morning.

Westerly flow over southeast Wisconsin appears to have pushed birds to the Lake Michigan shoreline, favoring the lakeshore areas around Chicago this morning. Birders in the Chicago area this morning should be alert to concentrations of birds at migrant traps throughout the city. Judging from the radar Chicago birding could be pretty great today!

As always, woodcreeper.com depends on you to report your sightings and be our ‘eyes on the ground’, so please come back and give us an idea of how we’re doing predicting birding conditions in your neck of the woods.

Good Birding,


For migration updates in other regions check-

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula - The Northwoods BIRDAR by Max Henschell
New England - Tom Auer’s blog
Florida/SE - Badbirdz Reloaded by Angel and Mariel Abreu
PA/Ohio Valley - Nemesis Bird by Drew Weber
NW Ohio - Birding the Crane Creek by Kenn Kaufman
Pac NW - Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth
Continental US - eBird BirdCast Forecast & Report by Team eBird


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: