The first pulses of the flow of bird migration have already started coursing across the hemisphere. Early vanguards of the coming numbers of Red-winged Blackbird, Sandhill Crane, and American Woodcock left their southern U.S. wintering grounds and made it to the northern U.S. and southern Canada over the last few weeks.
Boreal forest-breeding Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers are also pushing northward across the continent. Some, like the Ring-necked Ducks and Northern Pintails, may show up in the southern edge of the boreal forest by early April, others perhaps not until well into May. Still other species may not leave their South American wintering grounds for another month until the flowing current of northward bird migrants becomes a sea in late April and May, flooding the continent with returning birds and filling the air with their exuberant songs.
Billions of these birds are headed to Canada’s boreal forest. Stretching from Alaska to Labrador, it serves as North America’s bird nursery. Every spring, birds arrive to raise their young, and every fall, 3 billion to 5 billion birds fly out of the boreal to backyards, parks, and wildlands across the U.S. and Latin America.
Sustaining boreal nesting grounds ensures these waves of birds will continue washing over the hemisphere for generations to come.