Watching for Migrants this October—International Migratory Bird Day

By deweidemann October 9, 2014

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens). Watch for these and other amazing warblers during migration.

One of the biggest events of the birding calendar, International Migratory Bird Day, is coming up this weekend on October 11. The Caribbean is fortunate to be located in the center of many Western Hemisphere migration routes. The diversity of migrants passing through the Caribbean is incredible, including shorebirds, raptors, warblers, and numerous other birds. As many Caribbean birders will tell you, attending an International Migratory Bird Day is a great way to experience migration in the Caribbean and learn more about it.

eBird Caribbean can help you further enjoy International Migratory Bird Day and migration throughout October and the rest of fall, while contributing to the conservation of migratory birds. As the biggest database of bird sightings for the Caribbean, eBird Caribbean allows you to explore migration patterns in the Caribbean. To see how migration progresses through your area, use the bar charts feature to see how abundances change over weeks and months as birds migrate in and out of the region. Although migration lasts all of fall and spring, you may be surprised to see how much species differ in their timing of migration. In addition, eBird Caribbean’s maps feature allows you to explore migration routes for individual species through the Caribbean (change the time range to include sightings from only fall or spring months). Some species travel mainly through the eastern Caribbean, while others cross the Gulf of Mexico and are only seen regularly in the Western Caribbean.

Many International Migratory Bird Day events also include bird walks and other opportunities to observe birds. When you participate, make a list of birds you see and enter your checklist into eBird Caribbean. Even better, watch migrating birds all month, or even all of fall, at your favorite birding spot and enter regular checklists. Not only will you spend time enjoying migration, but your checklists will help us improve our understanding of migration patterns and how to conserve migrating birds in the Caribbean.