Our winged friends are adding color to Wisconsin

It might not be the best weekend for bird watching but there is a lot of color out there.

Warbler migration is nearing peak in south and central Wisconsin after a big flight into the region on May 15: 28 species were reported in Milwaukee, 26 species at Bay Beach Sanctuary in Brown, 24 in Dunn, and similarly good numbers in Dane, Marathon, and elsewhere. The Northwoods saw only a trickle of new warblers until today, May 16, when the first really good influx occurred. Baltimore orioles, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and rose-breasted grosbeaks also arrived there last weekend. Veeries, Swainson's, and gray-cheeked thrushes are on the move statewide, while feeder watchers in the south are seeing good numbers of indigo buntings and a few scarlet and summer tanagers. Southern birders are also finding the first of the late migrants like great crested and olive-sided flycatchers, and common nighthawk. A few Harris's sparrows were found among white-crowned sparrows, especially in western Wisconsin. Shorebirds are on the move too, with the best reports coming from Horicon Marsh where dunlin, both yellowlegs, semipalmated and black-bellied plovers, ruddy turnstones, sanderlings, and least, semipalmated, pectoral, and white-rumped sandpipers were found. Two whimbrels were noteworthy in Manitowoc.

Have you seen me? At least 10 western tanagers like this one have been reported in Wisconsin since May 4, many coming to backyard feeders for seed, jelly, or orange halves. Photo credit: Ryan Brady

Many rare birds were found this week. Western tanagers are showing unusually well, with at least 10 reports since May 4, including such counties as Jefferson, Washington, Brown, Chippewa, and Washburn. Also found were colorful male painted buntings in Green Lake, St. Croix, and Ashland. A black-throated gray warbler in Ozaukee was only the state's 8th and first since 2011. Other uncommon warblers found were worm-eating and prairie warblers in Milwaukee, and yellow-throated warblers in Waukesha and Jefferson. A blue grosbeak was seen at a feeder in Walworth, and several Northern mockingbirds were reported north to Bayfield. Waterbird rarities included eared grebe in Douglas, white-faced ibises in Portage, and snowy egret in Dodge. In the week ahead expect a wet weather pattern with ample north and east winds, which should yield slow migration conditions but good viewing opportunities for warblers, shorebirds, and other neotropical migrants. Find out what others are seeing and report your finds to www.ebird.org/wi .