Given the time of the year, most birders are all about migration. Whether trying to catch a glimpse of bird species passing through from northern locales or monitoring your backyard birds, the fall is an exciting time of year for birders.
Depending on your geographical location, you might just be treated to another migration phenomenon known as Fallout. Simply put, Fallout is a flock of a large number of birds containing a variety of different species that suddenly descend on a particular location as a result of seasonal weather patterns that might be disrupting their migration pattern.
Fallout comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from a couple of hundred birds stopping in for about a day to thousands of birds remaining on the ground for a few days at a time. As you can imagine, witnessing fallout is somewhat of a birders dream, given not only the size of the flock of birds but also the diversity of species that can be seen when this occurs. When on the ground, the birds will begin to forage ferociously trying to quickly fuel up for their remaining journey when it commences again.
It is said that spring fallouts are the best to witness given the fact that the birds will be sporting their full breeding plumage and songs, but fallout during the autumn months can really challenge even the most seasoned birder. During the fall birds will be sporting their somewhat subtle fall plumage and can be sometimes difficult to identify. If you are lucky enough to witness fallout during the autumn months, it will give you a great opportunity to get out and sharpen your identification skills across a variety of species.
Here in Ontario, one of the best locations to have a chance of witnessing fallout is at Point Pelee on the shores of Lake Erie. This location, in particular, is located directly in the path of where the Mississippi Flyways and the Atlantic Flyway intersect. This being said, fallout can definitely occur at anywhere and anytime based solely on the weather a group of migrating birds might encounter, so keep your eyes to the skies!