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March Means Migration

posted by Tim Avery at
on Friday, March 2, 2012 

It's March--and that means migration.  If you live in northern Utah you are probably saying to yourself, "Migration? It snowed a foot in the last 24 hours!!!".  True, this late season system dumped along the Wasatch Front the past two days, and I am sure quite a few people are thinking more about skiing than birding right now--but migration is here, and that's a fact.

Snow storm that hit Salt Lake City Last Night--March 1st.

The Snow and Ross's Geese are moving through the state right now.  The first shorebirds are showing up in small numbers. Sandhill Cranes are being reported as small groups pass through.  Waterfowl are heading back and soon enough raptors , swallows, and sparrows will be on the move.  March isn't a powerhouse month for migration but it does kick things off.  And once the ball is rolling, the birds just keep coming.  April and May will be here in no time, and before you know it the end of June will arrive and Fall Migration will have kicked back off.

Scott's Orioles arrive in southern Utah as early as March.

If you head to southern Utah during the latter half of the month quite a few southern specialties will be arriving and starting to look for nest sites.  Lucy's Warblers, Bell's Vireos, Scott's Orioles, Common Black-Hawks, and more are all early arrivals.

Cassin's Finch in March in my yard in Sandy.

If you're not quite ready for winter to be over, it's a great time to head into the mountains looking for winter finch flocks.  Rosy-Finches were abound at Powder Mountain last week--while Crossiblls, Cassin's Finches, and Siskin tend to start showing up at valley feeders just about now. There are still some gulls around, as well as 1,000's of Tundra Swans, and other winter waterfowl.  Winter Raptors are still here to--Merlins, Rough-legged, and Harlan's Hawks, as well as Bald Eagles.

Tundra Swans by the 1,000's during Migration.

But it's the month of change and many of the birds we are seeing right now will be long gone in a few weeks--replaced by their breeding counterparts.  Make it a helluva March and let us know what you're seeing!

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2 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's quite a variety of birds. I never really thought of March as being a month with a lot of variety. Then again I don't usually venture far from northern Utah this time of year. Thanks for the post!

March 5, 2012 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

@anonymous: March can be a great month for birding--out with the old in with the new so to speak. It means a lot of diversity and the opportunity to see lots of birds... And it only gets better in April and May, then again in August and September. The next 6 months are my favorite for birding in Utah.

March 6, 2012 at 8:11 AM  

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