Most birders across Temperate latitudes of North America would likely agree that April is the best birding month of the year. While migrant swans, geese and cranes move through in February and March, the waterfowl migration is peaking as April begins. Winter visitors and residents can still be found through the middle of the month and permanent residents are especially active and conspicuous in April due to the onset of their breeding season.
Shorebird migrations peak during April and summer songbirds begin to arrive early in the month; by mid April, a mix of winter and summer residents join permanent residents in our parks, suburbs and refuges. As the winter birds begin to depart, migrant and summer songbirds arrive in increasing numbers; among these are the first waves of warblers and flycatchers, which can be difficult species to identify. Fortunately, nature provides some assistance as leaves remain rather small and unobtrusive throughout most of April.
By the end of the month, most summer residents have arrived and most migrants have passed through the region; exceptions include common nighthawks, late warblers and late flycatchers which generally turn up during the first two weeks of May. No doubt, every season has its birding highlights but April offers more than its share.