Birding report - May 4,2022

Are you ready, birders? Peak migration is near as favorites like orioles, hummingbirds
grosbeaks,buntings, tanagers and warblers return to Wisconsin. May promises to
be the most exciting birding month of the year!

Nearer water, several flocks of American avocets and willets were seen, and the
first least,pectoral, solitary and spotted sandpipers were seen among larger numbers
of greater and lesser yellowlegs. Large flocks of Bonaparte's gulls frequented
lakeshore sites and flooded fields, the former also hosting common, caspian and
Forster's terns. American bittern, sora and Virginia rail can now be heard in
emergent wetlands.

Waterfowl migration is at or just past peak in the north, where late ice-out on
lakes has delayed loon arrival and pushed loons, grebes and many waterfowl
into smaller areas of open water. Scaup, redhead, ring-necked duck, bufflehead,
blue-winged and green-winged teal, shoveler and pied-billed grebe were all spotted
this week. The first goslings were also reported in southern Wisconsin.

Persistent cool northerly winds have also resulted in late departure dates for
some decidedly "winter" species, including snowy owl, rough-legged hawk, northern
shrike, snow bunting, Bohemian waxwing, white-winged crossbill and hoary redpoll.
Good numbers of common redpolls continue in the north, with a few stragglers in
the south. Dark-eyed juncos remain abundant, though they are slowly getting
replaced by incoming white-throated sparrows. Other sparrows like swamp,
savannah, chipping, white-crowned and Lincoln's are also moving in.

Warmer, drier weather and more south winds should usher in many new birds
during the week ahead, especially Sunday into early next week if the forecast
holds. Look for orioles, grosbeaks and a few hummingbirds to reach the north,
many more warblers statewide, and soaring groups ("kettles") of broad-winged
hawks overhead. Then help us track the migration by reporting your  finds to
www.ebird.org/wi [exit DNR]. Good birding!

– Ryan Brady, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program Biologist