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Songbird Migration Calendar

click here for a list of species reported to eBird at Lucky Peak

Mid-July to mid-August:

This time period is dominated by post-breeding dispersal (mostly juveniles, some adults of many species) of birds from the local area in addition to our earliest southbound migrants, including Dusky Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, and Black-headed Grosbeak and immatures of Nashville, Yellow (some adults too), Townsend’s, and MacGillivray’s Warblers. This is also the time in which we see and catch most of our hummingbirds – mostly Calliope and Rufous – which taper off by the end of August. Other commonly captured species at this time include Chipping Sparrow and Spotted Towhee.

Mid-August to mid-September:

This is the most diverse time period due to the overlap of Neotropical (generally longer-distance migrants) and temperate migrants and this is also the time in which most of our unusual or rare songbird species have made appearances. Many Neotropical migrants, including Townsend’s and Wilson’s Warblers and Western Tanagers, peak in late August. Hammond’s Flycatcher, Cassin’s Vireo, Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Spotted Towhee also become more numerous in this period and Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-crowned Sparrows begin to build in abundance by the middle of September. Rarities over the years have included many eastern warbler species (including the 1st Idaho record of Blackburnian Warbler as well as Tennessee, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, and Black-and-White), 2 Blue-headed Vireos, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and a few Golden-crowned Sparrows (this species has occurred as early as Aug 31 but most records are from late September).

Mid-September to mid-October:

This is our period of greatest migrant abundance and the sheer numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglets can be staggering (as many as 250 captured in one day!) and numbers of Dark-eyed Juncos and White-crowned Sparrows are also really impressive. While less abundant, Hermit Thrushes and Yellow-rumped Warblers reach their peaks in late September. Overall peak numbers usually occur between Sept 25 and Oct 5, when well over 100 captures per day are expected. A few unexpected species have made appearances this late in the season, including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; Bewick’s Wren; Palm, Black-throated Blue, and Blackpoll Warblers; and numerous Golden-crowned Sparrows.