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April Rare Birds: Painted Redstart leads flush of rare migrants

Jeremy Meyer photographed this male Painted Redstart at the Spring Green Preserve in Sauk County on April 24.


By Mark Korducki

The month began with cold and snowy conditions but by Easter weekend the weather had changed dramatically. A week of above normal temperatures, including several record highs, increased the push of migrants into Wisconsin and brought with it several rarities.

The highlight of the year so far was a colorful Painted Redstart that was found in a wooded valley in the wonderfully diverse Spring Green Preserve in Sauk County. This handsome warbler is normally found in the wooded canyons of Southeast Arizona. It is the third record for Wisconsin but the first chaseable one. Many birders were able to see it on the day it was discovered as well as the following day. 

A handsome male Ruff was found on a flooded field in Jefferson County. It was a good month for shorebirds with multiple sightings of Willets, American Avocets and Hudsonian Godwits.

RARE <b>Cinnamon Teal</b> photo 5 23

Mary Guell photographed the stunning male Cinnamon Teal on April 20 in Waushara County.

A very cooperative and colorful Cinnamon Teal is lingering in Waushara County. A male Eurasian Wigeon was enjoyed by many in Columbia County and there was also a sighting in Dodge County. Eared Grebes were seen at several locations and a Western Grebe was a nice find on the west shore of Green Bay in Brown County.

The major warm front came in earlier than last year, so it didn't produce the flood of neotropical migrants that we witnessed in late April of 2022. However, it did produce a trickle of warblers, including a record early Cape May Warbler that was photographed in Milwaukee. Prairie Warblers were found in Dane and Milwaukee Counties. The bird in Dane was quite cooperative and enjoyed by many. Yellow-throated Warblers are being found with greater regularity in Wisconsin and single birds were seen in Dane, Kenosha and Sauk counties.

A Little Gull was found in a flock of Bonaparte's Gulls in Door County. It is one of only a handful of records for the county.

RARE <b>Northern Mockingbird</b> photo 5 23

Jeremy Meyer photographed this Northern Mockingbird at Grant Park in Milwaukee County on April 17.

Northern Mockingbirds were found in Kenosha and Milwaukee counties. A Summer Tanager was a nice find in Dane County, Smith's Longspurs were located in Rock County, and four Harlequin Ducks showed up in Milwaukee County.

The parade of spring migrants has slowed down a bit with the cooler weather during the last week of the month, but some great birds have been found. As May begins, we are entering the true highlight of the birding year.

In addition to compiling this monthly report, Mark coordinates Wisconsin’s 92 Breeding Bird Survey routes.