Fall migration is beginning

   I have written many times about fall birdwatching (here, here and here are a few examples). If you ask nearly any bird watcher when the best time of year to go birding is, they will probably all tell you the same thing: spring. But I would argue that fall is actually the best time to go birdwatching (the fact that fall is also my favorite season probably is part of the reason why I believe this). In all of my bird watching experience, fall has always been when I see the largest collection and broadest range of species all at one time. Admittedly, I have never been too the Biggest Week in American Birding, though I have wished to attend, it has not yet happened. However, even if I could see the large collection of warbler species all packed into such a small area (relatively speaking, considering the number of species, and the number of some species present), I would still most likely that fall is the best time ot go bird watching for one main reason: no matter how hard I have tried, I have never been able to spot a large collection of spring migrants on my property, and thus be able to bird through it. The furthest that spring migration ever goes on my property (to date) is yellow warblers, yellow-breasted chats, indigo buntings, baltimore orioles, and perhaphs throw a orchard oriole and palm warbler into the mix (yellow rumped warblers are a given, and don't really need to be mentioned).

File:Brown creeper (Certhia americana).jpg

A brown creeper, one of the fall migrants that you will likely find in Ohio woods in October.1

   But in the fall, however, for two consecutive years (right after my bird watching excapades became more serious) I have been able to catch an absolutely gigantic flock of birds, and some in overwhelming numbers. The past two years (to be more specific, October 7th. 2012, and October 17th. 2013) I have found a large flock of birds containing some of the following species (I would have to look through my eBird checklist archives to be sure that I haven't missed any, which I am sure that I probably have):

  1. Yellow-rumped warblers
  2. Cape May warblers
  3. Tennessee warblers
  4. Common yellowthroats
  5. Bell's vireo
  6. Golden-crowned kinglets
  7. Ruby-crowned kinglets
  8. Brown creepers
  9. Downy woodpeckers
  10. Red-bellied woodpeckers
  11. Carolina chickadees
  12. Tufted titmice
  13. Eastern towhees
  14. White-throated sparrows
  15. White-crowned sparrows


The boldly-marked male yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle) is much less striking in the fall, but is still a noteworthy speices.2

   And just to be entirely truthful so that you are not misled, the above list is only a partial list of all that I saw on those days. Had I been more actively birding- I was basically standing stationary with my mouth agape watching all of the birds through binoculars; I wasn't moving around much searching for more birds- I most likely missed some very notable species. And fall migration is just starting to begin, once again, fellow birders. The American robins are starting to move through in my area, which is always a good indication that the other birds will also soon be passing through. Just about a month and a half is all that there is left to wait for the big migration sweep here in southern Ohio. Over at BirdCast, the first fall migration forecast has been given already! The species that were listed as 'on the move' already include: blue-winged teal, black-bellied plover, solitary sandpiper, upland sandpiper, common nighthawk, olive-sided flycatcher, least flycatcher, blue-winged warbler, black-and-white warbler, orange-crowned warbler, nashville warbler, MacGillivray’s warbler, yellow warbler, Townsend’s warbler, American redstart, Blackburnian warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, Canada warbler, Wilson’s warbler, bobolink, and Baltimore oriole. Get ready for the good birding that fall offers, folks! I am (and I can hardly wait- I'm ready and writing about it nearly two months early!).



1Brown creeper photo by Allen Vernon, flickr.

2Yellow-rumped warbler photo by Chuck Homler

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