In “On the Move,” our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of year. We featured Lazuli Bunting, pictured above, in our August 2014 issue.
Lazuli Bunting begins migrating in August, moving from breeding grounds in the western United States and Canada to southern Arizona and New Mexico, northern Mexico, or the southern tip of Baja California. Then, after molting during the late summer monsoon season, it retreats to western Mexico for the winter. The eBird maps above were compiled over the past 10 years and show how the bird’s distribution changes between August and January. In August, buntings can be found across most of the western U.S. and into southwestern Canada. Purple squares in southern Baja California and central Mexico likely represent the first birds to return from the breeding grounds. In January, most buntings are wintering in western Mexico. The January map also shows where a few birds winter in Arizona, as well as rare winter records in Alabama, Florida, and the Northeast.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the August 2014 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.