Magnolia Warbler photo taken by Daniel Mlodozeniec in Buffalo

The birding world is one of constant change.  There are many ephemeral moments that birders look forward to and take advantage of.  Perhaps none more so than the arrival of our warblers.  During the month of May, when warbler season peaks, many birders and wildlife photographers wander through the woods with their heads on a swivel, their eyes working hard to track the perpetual movement of these colorful little birds among the emergent leaves.  Most of them are simply passing through Western New York on their way to places further up north to breed.  Few, like the yellow warbler, will nest here. These birds possess pointy, tweezer like beaks that allow them to capture and consume their insect prey.  It is this insectivorous lifestyle that requires warblers to migrate.  During the fall, these warblers leave the north country to warmer climates, usually down in Central and South America!  These spring and fall migrations are not equal in terms of the experience.  In the spring, when warblers are working their way up to their northern breeding grounds, they sport colorful breeding plumage with fantastic patterns.  This makes it much easier to identify them, and they make for quite a beautiful sight.  In addition to this, in the spring time they are singing to establish territories and attract mates.  These two factors, key for viewing and identification, no longer play a role in the fall.  Most warblers molt by late summer, and after the breeding season, their brilliant plumage and beautiful songs are no longer needed.  The southbound descent of the now dull colored fall warblers generates much less hype.  That is why Spring is the best time to see them!  Each warbler species has preferred habitats, but they are usually found in shrubby woodlands and forest, usually near dreams, creeks, or other sources of water.

Interested in seeing and learning about warblers?  Come join Earth Spirit staff on our Warbler Walk on May 18th at Birdsong Nature Park in Orchard Park.  As always, programs are FREE for members.

It’s Warbler Season!!

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