Statewide Birding Report

Many southern birders will long remember this as one of the best May migrations in years. For the second straight week large numbers of warblers, thrushes, orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, and other migrants provided outstanding viewing opportunities. Some, like yellow, Cape May, and Tennessee warblers, even graced oriole and hummingbird feeders, as did more scarlet tanagers than usual. Some of these species also wasted no time in nest building, with nests already documented for Baltimore oriole, rose-breasted grosbeak, ruby-throated hummingbird, black-and-white warbler, and others. Flooded fields and mudflats should be watched closely now for a good variety of shorebirds en route to the arctic, such as black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, dunlin, various sandpipers, and both sanderlings and ruddy turnstones, the latter two especially along sandy beaches and shorelines.

                          Black-bellied ploverPhoto credit: Ryan Brady

After a slow weekend up north, the mornings of May 14 and 16 both saw a good influx of migrants, including many warblers and thrushes, some vireos and shorebirds, and other long distance neotropical migrants like indigo buntings and bobolinks. Immature rough-legged hawks continue to linger up north, while this week saw multiple snowy owl reports around the state as far south as Sauk County. Some of the rare birds spotted were worm-eating warblers in Milwaukee and Marinette, snowy egret and marbled godwit in Rock, summer tanager in Bayfield, little gull in Marathon, black-billed magpie in Ashland, western tanager in Rusk, northern mockingbird as far north as Bayfield, American avocets in Dodge, and hudsonian godwit in Fond du Lac. The south will lose warblers over the week ahead but gain late arrivals like cuckoos, nighthawks, flycatchers, and shorebirds. The north will finally get some great warbler action and some shorebirds. Find out what others are seeing and report your observations to Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland




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