Area Report

Wisconsin Birds


Baltimore orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks have arrived in numbers, along with a few orchard orioles and ruby-throated hummingbirds. The next one to two good migration nights (often under clear skies with calm or south winds) should bring a wave of these colorful favorites to many backyards in the southern tier of the state.
Warblers are also beginning their push. Yellow-rumped and palm warblers dominate, with a few pine, orange-crowned, Nashville, black-throated green, northern and Lousiana waterthrushes, and common yellowthroats. Other arrivals this week included hooded warbler and an early blackburnian in Green Bay.
Warbling and blue-headed vireos are being seen now, as well as the first eastern kingbirds, least and great crested flycatchers. Gray catbirds and chimney swifts are back in small numbers, as are the first Eastern whip-poor-wills.
Grassland sparrows such as lark, Henslow's, and grasshopper sparrows have also moved in, while birders should keep an eye out for Harris's sparrow among the white-throated and white-crowned sparrows migrating through the region now.
Some shorebirds being seen in flooded fields and other shoreline areas include spotted and solitary sandpipers, and both greater and lesser yellowlegs.
Upland sandpipers have returned to large grasslands after spending the winter as far as Argentina! American avocets were found in several locations this week. Look for these and flocks of the much drabber willet on Lake Michigan beaches and interior wetlands over the next week.
Far northern Wisconsin experienced a significant ice/snow event over the past few days, bringing large numbers of American robins, hermit thrushes, and sparrows to roadsides.
Feeders were also extremely active with dark-eyed juncos, song, fox, white-throated, chipping, and a few American tree sparrows, purple finches, and various blackbirds, including numerous rusty blackbirds, which are rare at feeders except in poor weather.
Areas of standing water such as ponds, brushy swamps, and forested wetlands are often important sources of insects during these cold outbreaks in spring, hosting phoebes, kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers and other early migrants.
Waterfowl migration remains strong "up north", with a great selection of divers and dabblers on Chequamegon Bay near Ashland and elsewhere. American white pelicans are migrating through the region en route to breeding areas on the northern and eastern Great Plains. Yellowlegs, Wilson's snipe, pectoral sandpiper, and killdeer remain the most dominant shorebirds so far. Look for large flocks of Bonaparte's gulls to move through in the week ahead. Ditto overhead as broad-winged hawks typically peak in numbers around the first week of May.
Some of the rare finds across the state this week were white-eyed vireo in Marathon, smith's longspurs in Dane, ruff in Manitowoc, white-faced ibis in Fond du Lac, harlequin ducks in Racine and Bayfield, spotted towhee in Monroe, and northern mockingbirds in Racine, Milwaukee, Dane and Ashland.
And as always, help us track the migration by reporting your observations to
Good birding!

SOURCE: Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist in Ashland

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