Several nights of calm ahead before the big bang

Regional Overview

Last night was another quieter one as south winds and scattered precipitation. Looking forward we have several days to wait until the next big push that should come Friday and Saturday nights. It is officially sparrow season with lots of Zonotrichia sparrows (White-throated and White-crowned), as well as Chipping and Savannah Sparrows heading south. Over the past week there has been an apparently strong push of Nelson’s Sparrows (or more people looking in good spots). Warblers will continue through but species diversity is much lower now and Yellow-rumped Warblers will be dominating the warbler scene in most areas from here on out.

The coming cold front for this weekend looks pretty impressive and people have been pretty excited about it on Facebook. Conditions look favorable for a good waterfowl push along the Great Lakes, as well as a decent raptor migration along the ridges. A strong system moving across the country like this often leads us to imagine western vagrants getting swept up in the system of flying east. When this happens, areas next to geographic barriers are often the best places to focus attention. Spots along the shoreline of the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean are perhaps the most promising for a concerted effort of rarity searching. Here’s hoping! I’ll of course keep you updated as the week progresses.

I don’t always have time to comment on the radar in each state. To interpret the local conditions yourself, read the quick tutorial at the bottom of the page.

New York

Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.


Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Maryland and Delaware

Click on the thumbnail to view the full-sized animation.

Quick guide to interpreting the radar

On the top row (reflectivity radar), the images show the magnitude of migration. When birds are migrating, it looks like a donut shape around the center of the radar station.

The bottom row is the velocity radar. This shows the direction that the objects detected by the radar station are moving. Blues are moving towards the radar station, yellows and reds are moving away from the station. So for southbound migration, blue should be on the top half of the donut, yellow on the bottom half.

Watch for precipitation moving through during the night hours, this can cause birds to stop migrating in a concentrated area, creating the fabled ‘fallout’, particularly on nights with strong migration.

For more in depth info, watch this video.
For migration updates or other regions check-

Pac NW – Birds Over Portland by Greg Haworth

I need your help! These reports will only be as good as the feedback I get on these updates. Please leave comments on interesting patterns of migration you are seeing in the field so I can incorporate some ground truthing to my forecasts and predictions. Thanks!