[CT Birds] Finding migrants

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Wed Sep 12 22:58:46 EDT 2012

I would just like to add to Greg's last post that is so helpful and right on.

It seems in the fall, migrants are more often found in clusters of birds here,
 and completely absent in same suitable habitat elsewhere. Not so as much
in the spring when birds always seem present everywhere, but in lesser
 or greater numbers daily at different spots. Luck can often play a role in
how we do in seeing birds, and in the fall I believe this to be much more so.

Paul Carrier - Harwinton

Message: 2
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2012 16:28:56 -0400
From: "Greg Hanisek" <ghanisek at rep-am.com>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Hoppin tree! - Finding migrants
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Paul's experience offers a good hint for anyone who finds looking for fall 
passerine migrants more difficult or frustrating than finding them in the 
spring. (And it is both, because of lack of song and because trees/shrubs 
are still heavily leafed).

One important thing is persistence, because flocks of warblers and others 
songbirds aren't uniformly distributed over even good habitat. If the first 
place has nothing, try the second, then the third (when Paul struck it 

A second is the rising sun that Paul mentioned. Look for birds in places 
bathed by the morning sun. Look for a "green wall," a place where a nice 
wall of trees meets open habitat such as a field, a powerline, a cemetery or 
even your yard.

Third, listen for activity by noisy common birds such as chickadees and 
titmice. Feeding flocks of warblers, vireos etc will often merge with these 
feeding groups. It pays to be alert for this activity wherever you are, 
because the feeding groups can materialize in places where you aren't 
expecting them. On the otherhand, if you find a good flock one day, try that 
place again another day.

Of course weather plays a big role. We've just come off a couple days of 
excellent migration conditions with clear nights and northerly winds. I've 
found some nice groups of migrants both days just by working my way around 
my usual birding spots near home.

When passerines are on the move feeding, they can be found in any native 
trees, but there are a few planted types that can be very productive - 
planted spruces (mostly Norway spruce, which are huge and widespread); 
willows (both planted weeping willows and scrubbier native ones); and 
planted birches. The scrubby willows and planted birches can be especially 
productive later in the fall as the warblers are thinning out.

Greg Hanisek

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