Statewide Birding Report - June 26, 2019

Migration just won't give up across the north, where warblers, flycatchers, thrushes and vireos and continue to pass through about 7-10 days later than usual. Among them have been Tennessee, blackpoll, bay-breasted, and Wilson's warblers, Philadelphia vireo, Swainson's thrush, and most of the flycatchers, especially yellow-bellied, olive-sided, and eastern wood-pewee. Red-headed woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, cedar waxwings, and common nighthawks are also on the move, while black-billed cuckoos have been notably scarce thus far. On the other hand, LeConte's sparrows are showing especially well this year in northern grasslands.

Shorebird migration carries on as is typical of this time of year. Most prominent have been semipalmated and white-rumped sandpipers but notable sightings included red-necked and Wilson's phalaropes, American golden-plover, and Hudsonian godwit. Reports of American white pelicans were common across non-forested portions of the state, often involving flocks of the birds soaring on thermals like typically seen in vultures and birds of prey. Notice flocks of Canada geese in V formation headed north this week? Those are known as "molt migrants," failed or non-breeders headed to the Canadian tundra to grow new feathers where food resources are rich and predators are fewer.

                                  Nests of the ruby-throated hummingbird are only about 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep. The female does all nest building, incubation, and caring for young.  - Photo credit: Greg Hottman
Nests of the ruby-throated hummingbird are only about 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep. The female does all nest building, incubation, and caring for young.Photo credit: Greg Hottman

Nonetheless, breeding season has really begun to take center stage. The vast majority of birds out our windows, at local parks, or in our great wild places are now singing to declare a territory and attract a mate, already paired up and building nests, sitting on eggs, feeding nestlings, or even caring for young already fledged. That means volunteers for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas project are hitting the field for the fifth and final year of this important project that documents what birds are nesting where in the state. Click link to find out how you can contribute.

Rare birds spotted this week included western kingbirds in Ashland and Bayfield counties, loggerhead shrike in Trempealeau, little gull in Sheboygan, and eared grebe in Dane. A beautiful male long-tailed duck in Lincoln County furnished an unusual record for this time of year in the interior portion of the state. Best of all, however, may have been another hooded oriole photographed in Brown, marking the third sighting of this southern species in the past few weeks after only one previous sighting in state history. Find out what others are seeing and report your finds to Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

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