Friday, September 11, 2009

The Woods are Quiet!

Hey! Where the heck are the warblers!?

Though we experienced a few days of good birding late August, the past week has been pretty bleak for observing migratory birds at Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Birders from all around southern Wisconsin are reporting similar results; it's very quiet out there for this time of year. Natural areas that are generally teeming with wood warblers by now are nearly devoid of the sprightly birds.

Looking at NexRad radar early this morning, I noted such weak migration over northern Wisconsin I decided not to bother with birding. Late morning I received an email report from my friend Roma. She found only a few Tennessee Warblers, a couple of American Redstarts, and a single Wilson's Warbler at Pheasant Branch.

Probably the biggest reason we're not experiencing the typical large mixed-flocks of birds is due to the current high latitude of the jet stream. Those of us in the Midwest realize that September has been uncharacteristically warm so far. There just haven't been enough cold fronts with tailwinds to facilitate migration. Though the weather has been comfortable for us, it's keeping a majority of birds to our north. The forecast for the weekend (and into Monday) indicates a continued high latitude for the jet stream:

Here's the kind of jet stream pattern that should bring the birds south for those of us in the Midwest:

Link: Current position of the jet stream


  1. I remarked to someone just the other day that it seemed like "Silent Autumn" re: warbler migration.
    Hope you're right that it's just a weather-related phenomenon, but there are a lot of other highly negative factors impacting songbirds these days. :-(

  2. Had one Good day Sept 5 near Kewaunee...radar showed HUGE migrations for several days after that, although warblers may not have been moving...NOTHING but a thrush on Sept 12 near Kewaunee and a redstart and 2 RE Vireos in my yard in Green Bay early the 13th...I think we gotta realize that as man kills the Earth ALL species numbers(most) are going down!!!