Friday, May 31, 2013

5/31 IL Migration Report: SPRING CONCLUSION

Radar again showing mostly rain in IL
So as far as birds migrating goes, the story remains the same tonight. Flycatchers, late warblers, vireos, thrushes, and shorebirds will be moving in lesser and lesser movements moving forward in to June (already?!). Precipitation in most of the state tonight will be keeping these birds grounded. Tomorrow will see a shift to westerly winds, and by Sunday, winds will be unfavorably northerly (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: This will effectively shut down most leftover night migration, which is only light at the most by now.

Migrants are still relatively prevalent both inland and along the lakeshore, but at this point, a) breeding species in many places outnumber the migrants, and b) there are increasingly fewer mass movements to predict and monitor. For these reasons, I think it's time to close up shop on this spring's series of migration reports. With the end of may, most of the expected spring migration has already occurred, and breeding birds are now displaying their full range of fascinating behaviors. I encourage you all to get out there and make some observations of your own, now that the madness and list-building of spring is largely over. Summer's a time to really get to know your local birds.

I will still post periodical migration updates when this or that comes up, or possibly analyses of vagrants or isolated/local breeders, but other than those things, keep your eyes peeled for a synopsis of the 2013 Spring Migration in IL, in which I will attempt to gain a little perspective in retrospect of what craziness we just went through. Sound good?

Thanks everybody for all your kind words, your questions, your feedback, and most of all, your interest. I truly enjoyed filling this role this season, and even more enjoyed helping people get the most out of birding and their understanding of nature.

Signing off until late summer,


Thursday, May 30, 2013

5/30 IL Migration Report

IL torn up by storm activity

Tonight, at least until the storm systems pass, IL will be experiencing very little migration. So tomorrow, we will, again, be seeing a lot of the same species with few influxes, only a little bit wetter.This means breeding species in addition to migrant warblers, flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, and shorebirds. But as we saw today with the Mottled Ducks found at Montrose Point (, Brown Pelican at Horseshoe Lake (, and Black-headed Grosbeak in Cook Co. (, there are still rarities out there waiting to be discovered. Will that discoverer be you?

The next few days look to be holding more southerly winds (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast:, and with all this warm, wet air moving up from the Gulf, I wouldn't be surprised if more regional vagrants appear in the next few days.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Good stuff. Get out there and find something good!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5/29 IL Migration Report

So tonight, we see yet another report with southerly winds forecast for tonight and the next couple of days (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast:, and light migration for the most part in IL. But migration by no means has left us completely. Today especially saw good numbers of migrant flycatchers, vireos, thrushes, and other late passerines. Shorebirds also continue to be on the move, and will be so into June. A lot of this, though, remains in Northern and Central IL; not much is moving anymore in Southern IL with the exception of a few late passerines and shorebirds.
Migration at the time of this post

As you can see, this week has seen a fair level of uniformity...we'll see what happens when things start to change up. At this point, there's very little hindering remaining migrants as far as weather goes.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Good stuff. Get out there and find something good!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5/28 IL Migration Report

Radar at the time of this post

Though things stayed relatively the same as the past few days as far as species present go, some really cool sightings came in. Lots of later species seemed to be influxing today...or more birders covered more places. Whatever the case, flycatchers, thrushes, late warblers, and shorebirds were the highlights of the average IL birder's list. This will remain to be the case through the next couple of days as it has the past week, as we will continue to see southerly winds prevailing (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: Radar is showing light movement right now where precipitation hasn't taken over. Where it is stormy tonight, birds in its midst will remain grounded or will be grounded soon. Birds flying into the storm activity also present the possibility of fallout, but tomorrow will probably not hold any insane arrivals or influxes.

We'll see what the next few days hold. Already some fantastic finds were reported on IBET today...these next few days and especially this weekend will be defined by isolated reports of really cool stuff, so keep your eyes peeled.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Good stuff. Have a great day tomorrow, everyone!

Monday, May 27, 2013

5/27 IL Migration Report

Nice southerly winds in IL with only moderate levels of migration to
back it up (see below)
Migration's winding down...
So for the most part, IL is now under the influence of southerly winds, a pattern that should continue at least for the next couple of days (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: These conditions are favorable for migration, but the radar isn't reflecting this as much as it would have three weeks ago ( This again reflects the deceleration in migration occurring as we move into the summer breeding season. As yesterday, we still see influxes of migrant flycatchers (e.g. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher), thrushes (any Catharus species), warblers (e.g. Mourning Warbler), and shorebirds (e.g. White-rumped Sandpiper) in some parts of the state, but in many places, we aren't seeing much other than breeding species.
Earlier in spring, this northbound warm front would have
lit up the state. Now, it just means warmer temps and
more insects for breeding species to feed on.

Nature's giving me less and less to write about! Maybe time to start preparing a 2013 Spring Migration Summary...

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Short and sweet, tonight. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

5/26 IL Migration Report

Hmm...what to think...
Tonight should be showing some more movement in places experiencing southeasterly winds, but because of some complex frontal boundaries and interactions between systems, it seems that right now, these favorable conditions are mostly restricted to Southern and Central IL. This could change overnight, but even if it does, precipitation over Central and Northern IL should halt most movement until it passes--so whether or not much moves throughout the state tonight remains in the balance. Ultimately, we want precipitation to end followed by southerly winds, and this could happen randomly
Winds at the time of this post
throughout the night, and thus migration will probably fairly sporadic (save Southern IL). The radar so far tonight is at the bottom of this post, or live in the sidebar on the right. As reflected by the winds, migration, light to moderate, is mostly concentrated in the Southern third of the state.

However, sorry to say it folks, but we're running out of migrants! Central and Northern IL are still experiencing influxes of migrant flycatchers, thrushes, warblers, and shorebirds, but as observed by Keith McMullen here:, most migrants have pretty much moved on or settled down to breed in Southern IL. The time is nigh, everyone. Don't get me wrong, birds will still be moving, especially shorebirds, but May is almost over. Time to prepare for Breeding Bird Surveys and all the other fun of summer birding. Breeding biology is one of the most fascinating parts of ornithology (see Bridget Stutchbury's "the Private Lives of Birds"), and I encourage you all to get out there and make ornithologists out of yourselves!

The next few days look to be relatively favorable, with overall southerly winds, but we'll see how it turns out. Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast:

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing. Overall, keep your eyes peeled for arrivals and influxes of flycatchers, thrushes, late warblers, hummingbirds, and any shorebirds.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Cool. Good luck everyone. Here's hoping the radar lights up a little bit more some time tonight.
Not about a little more? We'll see what tonight brings.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

5/25 IL Migration Report

Light migration tonight interrupted by storms and easterly
So, as predicted, tonight is only holding light levels of migration. Luckily, a lot of the east to northeasterly winds that are present in the prairie state are weak, and thus some birds are still moving ( Also in migrants' favor, a warm front is beginning to move northward through the south of the state, and may bring some southerly winds with it (see below). In spite of this, expect tomorrow's birds to be largely the same as today's. This means that, again, lists will be dominated by breeding species with influxes of thrushes, flycatchers, and shorebirds. On the shorebird front especially, some interesting species have been showing up sporadically, with WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER and RUDDY TURNSTONE being some of the highlights along the lakefront (Check out the map at the bottom of the report). Just because the birds are well documented, check out the Red-necked Phalaropes (4!!!) reported from northern Cook Co.: Not bad, eh? Who knows...there could be a few in your local patch.

Check out that northbound warm anyone else
excited by that?
Anyway, yet another day passes with an unchanging forecast. Winds will remain to be easterly into tomorrow, when the winds will begin to shift into a more southerly range. Southeasterly winds should prevail by tomorrow night (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: This means that any restless birds waiting to move will probably do on Sunday, so keep an eye on the winds and the radar.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing. Overall, keep your eyes peeled for arrivals and influxes of flycatchers, thrushes, late warblers, hummingbirds, and any shorebirds.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Good stuff. Happy birding everyone!
White-rumped Sandpiper reports on eBird in the past 30 days. Click to play with this page yourself.

Friday, May 24, 2013

5/24 IL Migration Report

Winds right now...nothingness in S IL, and weak easterly
winds in N IL.
Much of the same was moving through IL today, so let's look specifically at how this weekend will play out. First, looking at winds (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: ), it looks like tomorrow will see a gradual shift in the winds to a more easterly direction throughout the state, and gradually these winds will become stronger. If there ever was a chance that Saturday night would be host to much migration, it's long gone now. But things get better Sunday, as winds gradually continue to shift until they are moving in from the South by Sunday night. So this means we will likely be starting off the week with moderate to heavy movement Sunday night. Yay!

Winds right now are a bit confused but seem to be overall easterly. The more important note is that winds are extremely weak right now, so birds are still moving in light to moderate concentrations throughout the state.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing. Overall, keep your eyes peeled for arrivals and influxes of flycatchers, thrushes, late warblers, hummingbirds, and any shorebirds.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Awesome. Happy Birding everyone!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5/23 IL Migration Report

So let's be totally honest; I'm not going to have much to report on tonight. Northerly winds rule the state right now (, so what's left to migrate certainly won't be migrating now if it was last night. Because of this, I figured I'd publish the report a little early. I have to say though, it does feel a little weird to be typing this in daylight.

Anyway, let's talk first about today's birds. Not many passerines moved last night, so today remains to be mostly defined by thrushes and flycatchers on this front. Shorebirds continued to move during the day today, and species like AMERICAN AVOCET, RUDDY TURNSTONE, and HUDSONIAN GODWIT would be the highlights. Other than that, I sadly don't have too much more to report to you, but that's okay. More to report will come in the next few days.

Looking really quickly at the wind forecast, it looks like conditions will begin to be favorable again sometime around Saturday afternoon, so Saturday night may hold some decent migration (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast:
WindCast for 1PM Sat.

More and more we're seeing shrinking numbers of warblers and such on our lists, and as always, it seems like they're gone as quickly as they arrived. Expect these numbers to continue to dwindle until only breeding species remain.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Anyway, that's all for tonight, folks. Happy birding!
Same thing but in S IL

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

5/22 IL Migration Report

Westerly winds will be keeping migration lighter tonight
So tonight, we will be seeing less migration because of unfavorable westerly winds in much of the state. There's even some northerly influence to these winds in Southern IL. So what does this mean? This means that for the most part, we will have to wait through a period of northerly winds tomorrow and easterly winds on Friday before any favorable conditions decide to present themselves this weekend (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: Looking at some longer term wind forecasts, it looks like there may be very slight southerly flow on Saturday, and then starting Sunday night and moving into next week, we will again have favorable, dominant southerly winds. So this weekend, it looks like birds, for the most part, will be holed up in the rain.

See the cold front that brought in the Westerly winds
So if you haven't found yourself any empids, the last of the spotted thrushes to pass through, or any new shorebirds for the year, this weekend should be a good opportunity to do so. A lot of the birds reported today and yesterday (primarily passerines) will only be moving short distances with the combination of storm activity and unfavorable winds, so chasing anything you haven't seen but have a chance to tomorrow may be a good idea. Birds like the aforementioned empids, including ALDER, WILLOW, LEAST, and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS, are around in good numbers right now. In addition, in the genus Contopus, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER has been moving through IL in decent numbers also (check out this eBird graph I created to show its influx in IL this spring below). Shorebirds, as predicted, also moved in the past 24 hours, with some crazy stuff showing up along the lakefront. See here: Fantastic finds, you guys.

eBird Data showing the influx of Olive-sided Flycatcher
(Contopus cooperi) this spring.  Click to play with this graph yourself.
To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Until tomorrow, fellow discoverers. Over and out.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5/21 IL Migration Report

After a day of ebb, migration is back again tonight. With the exception of some areas in NW IL where a
cold front from the NW is confusing the winds a bit, migration is light to moderate. As we begin to run out of migrants from the south to move up north, we will see as the radar lights up less and less with birds each night (see the rigyt sidebar). Sad, but everything has to come to an end, eh? And hey, even if that isn't any consolation, we still have quite a few good birds to sift through. Birds like YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER and NELSON'S
SPARROW. Also, Many shorebirds generally come through en masse later during spring migration, so we still have a bit of that to look forward to.

Looking forward into the next few days, winds will shift to become strongly westerly by tomorrow, and by Thursday, winds will have shifted to become strongly northerly again, so it looks like the nice long period of favorable conditions throughout the state will be coming to an abrupt halt tomorrow (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: We'll be keeping an eye out for the next favorable conditions.
A Partial View of IL's wind forecast by Thursday

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Good stuff folks. Today's birds were largely the same as yesterday's, so I'm not spending too much time reporting on them.

Happy Birding!

Monday, May 20, 2013

5/20 IL Migration Report

A big stormy scar down the center of our state

So let's take yesterday's report ( and push it forward to tonight, shall we? Instead of last night, the storms really seem to be moving in our state with some conviction tonight, and already cover much of the state. See the radar in the sidebar to the right for more. This means that I don't have too much to predict as far as migration goes for tonight, as the storms will be keeping the birds down. In areas outside of the storms, we are experiencing southerly winds, so birds may be moving if possible. Some fallout is possible, but tonight will definitely not see as much movement as last night. Birds will mostly be staying put.

But that's okay, because there were a ton of good birds around. One group to really highlight from today that has finally seemed to arrive in better numbers is Flycatchers. LEAST FLYCATCHERS
Wind tonight confused by the storms
appeared in greater numbers, ALDER and WILLOW FLYCATCHERS became more prevalent, and even YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS influxed a bit. EASTERN KINGBIRDS and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES brightened up many's day as well. This is a tough phase for many birders, as flycatchers are one of the most challenging groups of birds present in Illinois. If you're feeling challenged, I advise you to get out there with a more experienced birder and learn about empids in the field. Books and the internet just don't do the trick with these guys. Anyway, warblers continue to be moving through, with CONNECTICUT WARBLERS and MOURNING WARBLERS appearing in greater numbers. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS also continue their movement northward. Less birders reported seeing shorebirds around today, but I'm sure some good numbers of SANDERLING and SEMIPALMATED PLOVER were present in the prairie state.

Overall, the birding could be good after the storms tonight...we just gotta' wait it out! That's certainly what the birds are doing.
Click here to view this page and all its goodies

Here's some salient links for useful info:

Wind forecasts to predict when bird will be moving: Northern IL:, Southern IL:

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

That's all for tonight, folks. Good luck, and stay safe tonight in Spring's craziest weather.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

5/19 IL Migration Report

Insane storm line preceded by migration over IL
So, Northern IL, we're going to have some storm fun tonight, aren't we? In all seriousness, hazards tonight are not only serious for us humans, but also for migrants, who will be grounded with the activity of tonight's storm system. Luckily, southerly winds will continue through the event of any storm activity, and migration should resume at good numbers after it passes. See the complex combination of systems carrying the storm activity to the right. If you're not under the influence of imminent storms tonight, bird migration will remain moderate to heavy tonight, and southerly winds are in perfect condition to carry birds northward (right into the storms). See here: or here: below. Looking at IL now ( or, birds are moving through the whole state in mostly moderate levels, but in some heavy and some light concentrations here and there. If you're in an area that could be receiving storm activity beginning close to dawn tomorrow morning, know that migratory fallout could occur as birds are forced down out of the sky, and large numbers of them could appear seemingly out of nowhere. Cool!
Wind at the time of this post

Alrighty, so how about today? Today saw a considerable ebb in bird activity in many places, with migrant numbers down from yesterday. However, this wasn't an absolute trend; some places were packed with good birds, and in many places, localized breeding residents are returning to their territories. One species that exemplified this today was BLUE GROSBEAK, which was reported three times today, all three in Northern Illinois. Another example of this is Summer Tanager. As per usual, fewer reports came in from the rest of the prairie state, but I suspect that things were more productive, especially in Southern IL. Radar showed much more movement there than anywhere else last night.

Moving forward through the next few days, it looks like throughout the state, winds will remain southerly in the favor of migrants (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: So the next few days should be pretty good compared to any ebb
An ugly but useful 18 hour wind forecast. Click to enlarge.
today, but the time will be coming soon when migrants have, save a few groups, mostly made it to their breeding grounds. I don't want to think about it, as this spring still hasn't had too many days swarming with peak concentrations of  migrant passerines, but May will be done before we know it :(. We still have a few weeks of migration, so let's make the most of it!

Anyway, to figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

That's all for tonight, folks. Good luck, and be safe in the oncoming storms.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

5/18 IL Migration Report

I had a fantastic day of birding today, and it seems like many other people did too. Warblers, Vireos, and Thrushes (oh my!) were all over the place today as with the past few days, and shorebird migration seemed to be occurring at low levels throughout the state as well. If you didn't get out there today, definitely do so tomorrow. Looking at longer-term forecasts, this weekend may end up taking the cake for most species rich/dense weekend of Spring 2013, or at least the one that saw the most movement of the most species. The conditions for next weekend are by no means set in stone, but are forecast to be ENE throughout the state, which is pretty dang unfavorable for migrants.

Looking toward the coming week, it looks like Sunday and Monday nights may facilitate moderate to heavy migration as they are both forecast to hold strong southerly winds (Northern IL Wind Forecast:, Southern IL Wind Forecast: Cool! We'll see how these week plays out, but it looks like southerly winds should continue in most places this week. Storms in the middle of the week may even result in localized fallouts. All we gotta' do is keep our eyes peeled.
Compare Southern Illinois to...
...Northwestern Illinois.
Click to explore eBird Data

Taking a look at tonight, winds are primarily southerly with an easterly push to it. This, for one reason or another, is resulting in heavier migration in Southern IL, which is reflected by he radar:

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

That's all for tonight, folks. Good luck!

Friday, May 17, 2013

5/17 IL Migration Report

I have to do the report a little early tonight, so please excuse the lack of references to radar. It's not quite active yet.
Neat view of winds in IL tonight

Winds in IL right now are fairly simple to interpret: unfavorable easterly winds in the northern half of the state and favorable (yet weak) southerly to southeasterly winds in the southern half of the state. This means migration will, for the most part, be concentrated in the southern half of the state tonight, likely with light migration in the north. As the night progresses, winds are forecast to become progressively weaker and progressively more easterly; in spite of this, migration should be moderate tonight, but don't expect too many huge arrivals or influxes tomorrow that are different from today, unless you're in southerly Illinois. One area to keep an eye on tomorrow with the east winds is the lakefront, as any shorebird movement will be blown in toward the shore. Lakewatches for shorebirds may be fairly productive, but it's by no means certain, as winds aren't as southerly along the lakefront. We'll see how the winds and the birds they carry play out tomorrow.

Winds are forecast to remain southeasterly throughout the state for much of the weekend until midday Sunday, so it looks like Sunday night may again see the largest concentrations of migrants out of this weekend. Not a bad weekend for migrants though, to be sure. For the Northern half of the state, see this wind forecast: For the Southern half, see here:

Lots of birds have been moving through IL the past few days, with more than 20 warbler species, 3 vireo species, 3 spotted thrush species, orioles, catbirds, gnatcatchers, sparrows, and all that jazz commonplace on birders' lists. Less frequently reported highlight species to keep an eye out for include YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, WHITE-EYED VIREO, CERULEAN WARBLER, HOODED WARBLER, SUMMER TANAGER, BLACK TERN, and PIPING PLOVER.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I've made a habit of sharing.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Happy Friday, everybody; I'll be out there with you tomorrow. Good luck!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

5/16 IL Migration Report

So tonight, I'm going to keep the discussion about today's migrants to a minimum, not because today's birds weren't awesome, but both because it's getting late and last night saw a little less migration, so birds today were mostly the same.

The big news is happening RIGHT NOW. Look at this
Illinois is barely discernible! Click for a live image.
In case your jaw hasn't dropped at the concentrations of birds moving over our state right now, see the images from all of the 6 NEXRAD units in IL below. Everywhere in Illinois, dark blue and green rule the radar, indicating that moderate to heavy concentrations of birds are moving over our heads as I type this very sentence. Why, you ask? Look no further than here: The state is currently experiencing nearly universal southerly winds, with a frontal boundary creating easterly winds in NE IL. This means that in addition to any arrivals and influxes observed throughout the state tomorrow, NE IL's migrant traps, more likely inland ones, will be packed as birds stop moving in the unfavorable easterly winds. Awesome!

Looking forward into this weekend, winds in N IL are forecast to become more easterly tomorrow, and will gradually shift back to southerly by Saturday, though winds will be SE until early next week. Elsewhere in the state, it appears that winds will be uniformly southerly to southeasterly (like tonight) this weekend, and will shift to southwesterly by early next week. Regardless, winds are forecast to have some sort of southerly influence throughout the state into next week, so birds will be moving north during this time.

Disordered list of IL's current Radar images:

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I shared the past few days.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

Get excited folks! It should be a pretty good weekend. Until tomorrow, over and out.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

5/15 IL Migration Report

Arrivals of Mourning Warbler in the past 7 days
Today was a fantastic day. Still waiting in suspense for the Big Day Crew's total, we looked on as birders reported huge numbers of birds along the lakefront in Cook and Lake Counties (see this report:, and at the same time, observed the lull in Southern IL birding, an observation made astutely by Keith McMullen (scroll down here: Birds moved in
considerable concentrations last night, and while the Northern half of the state seems loaded with awesome birds, Southern IL is mysteriously lacking in some groups. It will be interesting to see how this plays out...also interesting that whereas Southern IL had a lot of early migrants earlier this spring, things have slowed down since then (or haven't accelerated). Any more posts on Southern IL birdlife are always appreciated.

Notable movements today included RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, MOURNING WARBLER, WILSON'S WARBLER, YELLOW-THROATED and RED-EYED VIREO, SORA, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, SANDERLING, and DUNLIN, though obviously there were many more species out today. The Big Day crew reported 150 species by 10:30 AM (!!!), and more than 100 species were reported at Montrose today.

As Matt Fraker observed in his stunning warbler post (see here on IBF:, there was a line of northerly winds met by our southerly winds in Wisconsin last night, and all migration pretty much stopped there. Well, this line has proceeded south into our range, and is dividing the state into regions of northerly and southerly winds. The northern half of IL is currently experiencing northerly winds, and the southern half is experiencing southerly winds. You can see the reason for this below this paragraph. Luckily, the cold front that is bring in these northerly winds isn't moving with much conviction, and thus these winds aren't very strong (see here:, so birds are still proceeding northward in light to moderate concentrations. This is especially true in NE IL-> I'm tellin' you folks, these birds cannot be stopped! Migration is still moderate to heavy in Southern IL. This windy discrepancy shouldn't last too long, as winds are forecast to become southerly again tomorrow afternoon (Northern IL wind forecast:, Southern IL wind forecast: Looking further ahead, this weekend should also be really good for migration, so if you haven't made plans to get out there, make some!
The cause of tonight's wind discrepency

For a neat visualization of tonight's winds, see here-------------------------------------------------->

Cool! So tonight should be slightly less productive for migrants in the northern half of the state tonight, while Southern IL retains its favorable conditions that it has retained for the entire week.

To figure out which species to look for in your area, here are the eBird resources I shared yesterday and the 13th.
General IL charts:
Make your own:

That's all for tonight, folks!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

5/14 IL Migration Report

So firstly, check out tonight's winds on this snazzy display --------------------------------------->
Guess what? As predicted, we are again experiencing very favorable conditions for migration. Our state is, like last night, host to southerly winds with a bit of a westerly twang to it. As heat swept across the state from the southwest today, winds actually become more powerful in their direction, so tonight should be as good for migration as last night was, if not a bit better. And this means the whole state. From Carbondale to Winthrop Harbor, birds may even be audible as they fly over in the blackness of night, and for those of you with the desire to stay up late, without too much background noise, you may be able to observe migrants moving north directly (i.e. without radar). Worth a shot, right? Cool!

These conditions should last into tomorrow, when, as predicted, winds will become unfavorable in some areas. For the Northern half of the state, see this wind forecast: For the Southern half, see here: Lucky for us, favorable conditions should return on Friday to rack up a great weekend of birding.

Tonight's report wouldn't be complete without a summary of today's birds, as, well, they were pretty great. The first IBET report this morning was of a CONNECTICUT WARBLER in DuPage Co, which truly is a sign of the progression of migration northward. Birds like MAGNOLIA WARBLER, LEAST FLYCATCHER, EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE, ORCHARD ORIOLE, LEAST SANDPIPER, and the like are beginning to work their way toward peak levels throughout the state (worded carefully), which is certainly something to get excited about. Another species worth noting, Pine Siskins have made a remarkably late stay in IL, and ultimately appear to be breeding residents in some places. As well-advised by Steve Bailey, keep an eye out for potential Siskin nesting sites (nest info here: This is where your sightings really count...we're all ornithologists in one way or another!
Range map of Pine Siskins during the summer. Note low frequencies in IL. Map created with eBird.
I got a lot of positive feedback on last night's report, so rather than posting a giant list, I will again post eBird frequency charts to help you draw your own conclusions and make your own predictions. If you don't already know, my goal is ultimately to make migration forecasters out of all of you, and this is a great what to get started. Here y'are:

eBird Data...all sorts of fun. Click to see this page.
The above-linked chart is one that I pre-defined to generalize the entire state. You can make your own After you select Illinois as your region on the left, you can select your own county on the right for charts based on data specifically from there, and even from individual locations. Awesome, right? EBird is just too good.

Good stuff folks. Keep an eye on the radar, then. It should be lighting up in full splendor soon.