More birds up the central flyway

National overview

Hot and heavy migration continued up the  Central Flyway last night with the heaviest movement from Texas to Iowa. High pressure over the Great Lakes kept things a bit quieter from Michigan to the Ohio Valley, and the Northeast will have to wait for the latest low to clear before birds make it up that way in earnest. The real hotspots, last night, though, were in the metro D.C. area where heavy migration coupled with a strong low pressure system should lead to some fallout conditions this morning. Also, birders in eastern Kansas, where storms intersected birds in the early morning hours, should also be on the lookout for fallout at first light. Migration continued up the west coast as well, from California to Washington State.

national composite nexrad from around 11:00pm on 5/7/13

National Composite NEXRAD from around 11:00pm on 5/7/13

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

More broad-front migration for Minnesota last night as birds continued to push up the Central Flyway. Given the widespread nature of the migration event, birds are dispersed across the landscape today. Migrant traps such as local parks in the Twin Cities and along the Mississippi River are the best bets for today. I don’t expect any concentrations along the lakeshore around Duluth given the SE->NW trajectory of birds, so head to inland hotspots for the greatest chance of diversity today.


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

Migration continued to be heavier over the western half of Wisconsin last night, as conditions to our east were less favorable. Migration was widespread and on a general SSE->NNW trajectory meaning birds are dispersed throughout the state today. Inland hotspots will be hold the most birds today although lakeshore sites tend to produce the more ‘interesting’ migrants, probably due to a combination of more available habitat (milder climate along the lake) and  detectability. Pheasant Branch, in Middleton, will produce a good assortment of birds this morning given the inland bias to the migration and the number of birds coming up from Illinois last night.

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

Definitely check out the Davenport radar just so you can see the mass exodus out of the Mississippi River floodplain. Birds were moving over both regions last night, with the heaviest migration continuing over the more western Davenport site. Birds were heading NNW over the region with consistent replacement from the south. Expect some turnover in migrants across northern IA and IL today with inland hotspots producing the best birds this morning.

As always, 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

This entry was posted in Birds, Forecast, Migration, Migration Radar, NEXRAD Migration Study, Spring Migration 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

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