Wisconsin Birding Report

Perhaps the single best month for birding is underway.
Warblers are arriving in earnest with reports from southern Wisconsin of prothonotary, yellow, Nashville, orange-crowned, palm, parula, black-throated green and others.
Pine warblers were reported at many suet feeders, especially in colder temperatures, while yellow-rumps have infiltrated the north, including reports of several hundred birds at several locations.
A few hummingbirds, orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks have trickled into southern counties - expect more significant numbers in the week ahead. Other long-distance migrants that have begun to arrive include whip-poor-will, chimney swift, blue-gray gnatcatcher and house wren.
Sparrow diversity is impressive now as grasshopper, Henslow's, Lincoln's and clay-colored arrive, joining building numbers of chipping and white-throated.
As usual, the phenology is later across northern Wisconsin. Waterfowl migration its near peak there, while several big land bird flights took place this past week featuring good numbers of American robins, various blackbirds, purple finches, both kinglets, brown creepers and more.
In Bayfield County, nearly 3,000 rusty blackbirds were tallied on April 20, and over 700 northern flickers on April 24. Dark-eyed juncos, American tree sparrows and fox sparrows remain in decent numbers. Broad-winged and sharp-shinned hawks, turkey vultures, ospreys and sub-adult bald eagles dominate the skies, while lingering winter birds include snowy owl, Bohemian waxwing and snow bunting. Night activity has been great with drumming ruffed grouse, displaying American woodcock, winnowing Wilson's snipe, barred owls and the best showing of northern saw-whet owls in years.
Shorebird action is picking up in flooded fields and wetlands, including the first semi-palmated plovers and spotted, solitary and least sandpipers. Hudsonian godwit and American avocet in Chippewa were good finds, as were 22 avocets in Milwaukee. Look for godwits, avocets and willets, especially along the Lake Michigan shore, in the week ahead.
Rarity season is well underway now as the week featured a ruff in Fond du lac County, laughing gull in Dane, Eurasian wigeon in Douglas, scissor-tailed flycatcher in Racine, white-faced ibis in Dodge, summer tanagers in Green and Waukesha, eared grebes in Winnebago and Sheboygan, northern mockingbird in Kewaunee, loggerhead shrikes in Dunn and Chippewa and white-eyed vireo in Grant.
The week ahead doesn't look ideal weather-wise, but birds will push north regardless. Dust off your binocs, brush up on your bird songs, and get those feeders ready!
Help us track the migration by submitting your finds to www.ebird.org/wi.
Good birding!

SOURCE: Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland