If it seems there have been a lack of reports from the longshore tower this past week or so, it’s for good reason. This weather stinks! Dominant north and west winds have locked out the Great Lakes (and much of the Ohio River Valley) from the benefits of a south wind for bird migration. What started off as a warm and dry spring has quickly gone cold and wet. What effects this will have on bird migration are yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure is that as long as north winds dominate, there will be no large scale bird flights occurring over the dunes at dawn. If you look at the forecast grids below, it doesn’t look hopeful through the next week that we’ll see any big push. A newer website to track bird migration is Birdcast.info.
Yet despite this, there will be trickle birds. They will move short distances in that urge to reach the breeding grounds. We should expect most migrants to be grounded in the cold north winds, but a few recent arrivals should be picked up that haven’t been detected yet.
Until then, it’s time for our annual appeal. Each year, our sleep deprived crew of five birders sets out to log as many species of birds as we can in 24 hours; all for the name of conservation. The Northwest Indiana Migratory Bird Association will set out for another Birdathon in 2015! On Saturday, May 16th our team will be starting at 2:30am for owls, whippoorwills, and nighthawks, and race towards the finish line, after dark, picking up raptors, shorebirds, and warblers along the way.
How can you help raise money for dunes area bird conservation? It’s easy! Simply fill out the online form by May 14th (do it today, while it is on your mind!). Last year our team found a team record 165 species of birds. If you had pledged a dime for each species, you would have $16.50…you get the idea! If you want to challenge our team with an extra $5.00 for a specific bird, maybe your favorite rare bird, please do so. It’s a fun way to raise money for a very good cause. The full list of birds will be sent to all that pledge. Your contribution is tax deductible as allowed by law. Please consider making a pledge or flat donation here!
Last year’s funds are helping to support the inaugural Indiana Dunes Birding Festival, May 7-10. www.indunesbirdingfestival.com.