Birding in PA - Seasonality

Spring

In spring, visitors may find migrating waterfowl and songbirds. The spring raptor migration is also evident, but less spectacular than autumn. Early migrants, such as Tree Swallow, Eastern Phoebe, and Chipping Sparrow will arrive in early April. Waterfowl have moved north, but lingering ducks such as Blue-winged Teal continue to pass through the state. Wood Ducks, Mallards, and Canada Geese are nesting. Salamanders and frogs are breeding in March, and shad begin migrating up the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers in April.

May is the peak of spring migration. The number and diversity of songbirds that pass through Pennsylvania during this month is breathtaking. Many songbirds, such as thrushes, tanagers, orioles, and warblers are arriving here from Central and South America for their brief summer breeding season, and even more are passing through on their way to territories further north. In wetland areas, migrant shorebirds appear along island shores and Common and Forster's terns work their way north along major rivers and lakes. Most species sing while on migration, making this a great time of year to learn to identify birds by sound.

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