April-Average temperatures:


Maximum ……………. 51.9


Minimum …………….. 34.0


Mean …………………. 43.0


Precipitation ………….. 3.09


The April Bird Counts of the Buffalo Ornithological Society are conducted by many parties of observers who cover all of the water bodies in our region at about the height of the spring waterfowl flight. The maximum number of species, 125, was recorded on April 12, 1959.

With the melting of the snow cover many seed-eaters arrive, including several species of sparrows. Birds on the previous list increase in numbers and the following birds usually join them:


Purple Martin

Brown Creeper*

Hermit Thrush

Golden-crowned Kinglet*

Rufous-sided Towhee

Savannah Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow*

Common Tern

Rough-winged Swallow

Barn Swallow

Brown Thrasher

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Myrtle Warbler

Chipping Sparrow


These species are usually joined about mid-April or shortly afterward by the following:


Common Loon

Red-throated Loon

Black-crowned Night Heron*

American Bittern

Cooper's Hawk*

Greater Yellowlegs

Pectoral Sandpiper

Bonaparte's Gull*

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


White-winged Scoter*

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk


American Coot

Spotted Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs


Most of the wintering and migrant waterfowl depart before the end of April, as do other winter visitants such as Common Redpolls and Tree Sparrows.

Toward the end of the month more insectivorous birds arrive, and new migrants include:


Green Heron

Caspian Tern

Virginia Rail



Bank Swallow

Common Gallinule

Cliff Swallow

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Black-and-white Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Palm Warbler

Northern Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush

Grasshopper Sparrow

Henslow's Sparrow

Solitary Vireo


May-Average temperatures:


Maximum ……………. 64.5


Minimum …………….. 44.1


Mean …………………. 54.3


Precipitation ………….. 2.95


Either in late April or early May there are liable to be spectacular hawk migrations along the south shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, usually on southwest or west winds. Broad-winged Hawk flights at the height of migration often rival the large flights seen at Hawk Mountain in the fall.


This is the month dear to the hearts of most bird students, since it is possible to see more species at the height of migration about mid-May than at other times of the year. Now the long-distance land bird migrants arrive, many, from as far as Central and South America, and it seems that in general these travelers from afar arrive at more nearly the same date each year than do those from nearby wintering quarters. Weather does have an effect which sometimes produces a very large movement on warm waves after a spell of inclement and cold days.


During the first ten days of May birds on the previous list increase greatly in numbers, and the new migrants (some of which occasionally arrive before May 1) include:


Solitar Sandpiper


Black Tern

Chimney Swift

Red-headed Woodpecker*

Eastern Kingbird

Great Crested Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

House Wren

Long-billed Marsh Wren


Wood Thrush

Swainson's Thrush


Yellow-throated Vireo

Warbling Vireo

Golden-winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler



American Redstart


Baltimore Oriole

Scarlet Tanager

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

American Goldfinch*

White-crowned Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow

Nashville Warbler

Parula Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Cape May Warbler


The above group usually arrives in greater numbers from May 10 to May 16 and is then joined by these new species:


Least Bittern

Semipalmated Plover

Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Black-billed Cuckoo

Wood Pewee (a few)

Short-billed Marsh Wren

Gray-cheeked Thrush

Red-eyed Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo

Prothonotary Warbler

Mourning Warbler (a few)

Yellow-breasted Chat

Hooded Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Canada Warbler

Orchard Oriole

Indigo Bunting

Tennessee Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler


The next week's arrivals usually include:


Black-bellied Plover

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Ruddy Turnstone

Traill's Flycatcher


Olive-sided Flycatcher


Cedar Waxwing*

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Blackpoll Warbler

Common Nighthawk

Connecticut Warbler


The period from May 17 to May 23 is usually the height of migration. in the Niagara Frontier Region. It is possible in most years for a single, small group of ardent observers to list over 150 species in the course of a day. Our May Bird Counts are taken near the peak of the spring migration, when many observers, divided into at least 25 parties, cover most of the choice localities in our entire study area. The maximum number of species recorded was 199 on May 18, 1958.


During the month of May such winter visitants and early migrants as Red-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Water Pipit, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, Red Crossbill and Fox Sparrow leave for their northern breeding areas.


During the last week of the month the shorebird migration is often at its peak, the Knot bringing up the rear of the parade. Now, and in early June, is the time to be on the watch for Brant. The warbler migrants are still passing through, particularly the females of many species.