Sep 5, 2016

Rock River birds getting ready for migration

Glen Loyd goes birding on the Rock River. And here's The DNR's Statewide Birding Report compiled in late August
 "The calendar says August but fall bird migration is well underway. Shorebird migration, which began way back in early July, is likely at peak, though only Horicon Marsh has featured high numbers. A flock of 53 Hudsonian godwits there on the August 14 was a great find. Several federally-endangered piping plovers were found along the Lake Michigan shore this week, including one in Racine that hatched just months earlier from the first nest on lower Green Bay in 75 years! Birders statewide also noted the first common nighthawks. Look for these zig-zagging aerial insectivores at dawn and dusk over the next three weeks.
 Evenings are also a great time to look for gathering concentrations of chimney swifts, another aerial insectivore whose populations have declined in recent decades. You can help by counting the birds at a site near you. Backyard birders reported building numbers of ruby-throated hummingbirds this week. Adult males, with their flashy red throats, will head south first and be gone soon, while females and this year's young will continue well into September. Among the most beloved groups of birds, warblers have begun their southbound migration statewide. Northern birders saw a good influx on the August 14, while the same day brought smaller numbers into southern counties from Madison to Milwaukee, including Tennessee and bay-breasted warblers.
 Other land birds on the move include olive-sided and yellow-bellied flycatchers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, bobolinks, and more! Woodlots, shrubby wetlands, and fruit-laden forest edges are great places to seek out a diversity of migrants this time of year. Despite all this migration, some birds are still nesting! Cedar waxwings, American goldfinches, and northern cardinals are notable late nesters. Even some ruby-throated hummingbirds continue to tend chicks in nests this week. Rarities have been few and far between, by far the best being two swallow-tailed kites found in Door County in July and continuing through at least the August 14. As always, help us track the migration by submitting your sightings to Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland"

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