Another big push into the Upper Midwest with lakeshore concentrations expected

National overview

Trans-Gulf migration into the Texas coast was followed by widespread nocturnal migration across most of the country last night. Notable exceptions were the areas under the control of high pressure such as New England and the Four Corners region of the Southwestern U.S. Migration was heaviest up the central U.S. from Oklahoma to southeastern Wisconsin, and east to the Ohio Valley and Appalachian Mountains.

national composite nexrad from around 11:00pm on 5/14/13

National Composite NEXRAD from around 11:00pm on 5/14/13

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

By midnight last night the winds had turned WNW over Minnesota, reducing the quality of migration conditions over the region. Yet both MN radars indicate a moderate pulse of migration last night. Looking at the radars it’s clear that these birds were heading SW instead of the expected north, which means they were reverse migrating across the region. This makes sense given the strong tailwind many birds rode into the region two nights ago which caused them to overshoot their intended destination. Expect bird densities along the western Lake Superior shoreline to actually increase today due to more birds arriving from the north!


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

Southwest winds over most of Wisconsin last night triggered another big night of migration into the state. Given the trajectory of migrants (SW->NE) expect stopover sites along the south shore of Lake Superior and especially along the western shore of Lake Michigan to be excellent again today. The Door Peninsula and both coasts of Green Bay should also hold many diverse pockets of birds today. Otherwise birds are saturating stopover habitat throughout the state over the last two days so any of the tried-and-true sites spring sites will be good today. Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton is calling my name… It’s a great day to be a birder in Wisconsin, so go get out there!

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 migration pattern over northern IA and IL was consistent with that of Wisconsin: moderate to high densities of birds moving from the SW->NW across the region. Expect highest concentrations along the Chicago lakeshore this morning as birds got pushed up along the shore all night and into today.

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.

3 Responses to Another big push into the Upper Midwest with lakeshore concentrations expected

  1. Tom says:

    Great birds at garret today, including…bay breast, capemay, lots of rose breast gross, scarlet tanagers, bt blues n greens etc

  2. Tony Nowak says:

    Awesome day of birding at High Cliff SP in Calumet Co. WI. The trees were dripping with birds and they were singing away. 17 species of warblers as well as FOY Least Flycatcher and Wood Thrush.

  3. Barry Stamm says:

    Lake farm this morning was buzzing with birds. Quite the bug hatch, definitely wanted to keep the mouth closed. Dozens of C. Waxwing, B. Orioles, a few Scarlet Tanagers,several Kingbirds,Black and Caspian Terns. Only saw Y,YR and Palm warblers and one N. waterthrush. Oh and C. Yellowthroat and a few Indigo Buntings. Sure there were others, but not seen by me. There about an hour on the lake path.
    Nine Springs had 3 Whimbrils, 2 W. Phalarope, L. Yellowlegs, Dunlin,Pectorals, BB Plover, SBDowitchers, SemiP. Plover. Not huge numbers but a decent variety, only checked first 3 ponds and a G. Heron
    Our yard in Verona. All Wt and Wc sparrows seem to have left. Lots of Cedar WW for the first time in a while. First night I saw more than one Nighthawk, although only 4. FOY Hummingbirds. No warbler change in last week. TUVU’S pretty numerous passing over.FOY I. Bunting. That’s about it.