David Sierra, District 5 leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife, said the natural migratory process for birds involves following cold fronts on their destination south for the winter.
Sierra said larger bird species with more wing power can fly longer stints, but smaller song birds usually make several pit stops along the way to eat and rest before the next stretch of the journey.
“Certain things trigger their next journey on,” he said. “It's a series of small trips. They travel so far, they find a food source and then … that front comes through and they know they are going to have to leave town so they take the next phase of that journey.”
John Adams, chief meteorologist with KYTX CBS19, said a strong cold front was moving from the Rocky Mountains, through the Plains and was expected to reach East Texas late this afternoon.
He said the front will bring thunderstorms, some of which may be severe, rain, possibly isolated tornadoes and hail.
Northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas will receive the brunt of the storm, while the weather in East Texas will be less severe, Adams said.
The front also could drop between an inch to an inch-and-a-half of rain on Tyler and East Texas, Adams said.
The rain will put the area in a good annual rainfall position for the first month of the year, said Jeff Hood, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport.
Hood said Tyler has received 3.18 inches so far this year, which is .51 inches above a normal of 2.67.
After the front moves through, the rest of the week should be sunny and much cooler, Adams said.
Temperatures have been 15 to 20 degrees above normal, and the cold front will bring back temperatures normal for this time of year, with highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s, Adams said.
“I don't see anything below freezing, and lows should be in the mid-30s and come back up,” he said.
As East Texas experiences relief from unseasonably warm temperatures, the migratory birds will be on their way to their winter designations, which, Sierra said, can be anywhere between the coast to South America depending on the species of bird.
“You are looking at March and April they will be headed the other direction …” Sierra said. “It's a year-long thing. They have peak migrations, (and it all) depends on the species. They all have their migratory patterns and habits.”