Statewide Birding Report as of April 3, 2020 -
Wisconsin DNR have discontinued reports until later in the season

                      Weekly birding report

Common loons have returned to Wisconsin, many now resting and refueling on southern and central Wisconsin waters waiting for ice-out on northern lakes. Photo by Robert Bergen.

Bird migration is going strong across Wisconsin. The number and diversity of birds has accelerated rapidly statewide, especially over the past week following several big migration events on mild, southerly winds. Northern Wisconsin is now seeing large numbers of dark-eyed juncos, common grackles, red-winged blackbirds, and American robins, as well as the first wave of short-distance migrants like song, fox, and American tree sparrows, golden- and ruby-crowned kinglets, brown creepers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, northern flickers, winter wrens, eastern bluebirds, and Wilson’s snipe. Waterfowl continue to arrive but the peak is a few weeks off as ice still dominates many water bodies. Overhead, red-tailed hawk migration is at peak, the first turkey vultures have arrived, and bald eagles continue to be prevalent.

In the south, swan and goose numbers are past peak but open waters are teeming with ducks, common loons, American white pelicans, pied-billed grebes, and great blue herons. Recent arrivals include great egret, black-crowned night-heron, sora, Virginia rail, blue-winged teal, and both greater and lesser yellowlegs. Landbird diversity has greatly increased, including tree swallow, eastern phoebe, yellow-rumped warbler, hermit thrush, brown thrasher and good numbers of flickers, sapsuckers, kinglets, and various sparrows, now including the first chipping, white-throated, savannah, and swamp. Osprey and red-shouldered hawks have arrived, while sharp-shinned hawks are increasing thanks to an abundance of songbird prey and rough-legged hawks are moving out, along with the last of the snowy owls and northern shrikes.

Early migrants waste little time getting down to business with eggs being reported for at least sandhill cranes, Canada geese, American woodcock, hooded merganser, American kestrel, and eastern bluebird. Rare birds were surprisingly few this week, best perhaps being varied thrush in Milwaukee, harlequin ducks in Sheboygan and Dane, and probable slaty-backed gull in Douglas. While there are plenty of old and new birds to see every day this time of year, conditions are favorable for new arrivals Sunday through Tuesday next week before winds turn northerly thereafter. Please help us track the migration by reporting your observations to Good birding!

– Ryan Brady, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program biologist

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