Warblers in a Blink of the Eye, So Where Are They Going?

Magnolia-Warbler-2

Magnolia Warbler

Birds, yes where do they go?

Black-Throated-Green-Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

To a vast forest at the top of North America, from interior Alaska all the way across the vast lands of Canada, is where they are headed. Yes, they are off to breed and pass through our area in the blink of an eye.

Yellow-Rump

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Each day for less than two weeks, birders all across the area are in search of the boreal forest birds. The boreal forest represents one-quarter of the world’s remaining untouched forests with about 80% free of industrial development. The forest has lots of lakes and 25% of the world’s wetlands which are home to 80% of the waterfowl species in the US and Canada. The map below shows the forest and the routes the birds travel. The website of the map used with permission for educational and media use, has great information.

map-migration

The forests are home to 325 different bird species which is almost half of the species commonly found in the U.S. and Canada.

Yellow-Warbler-1

Yellow warbler

The bird species birders are looking for right now is the colorful warblers. One of the early warblers I saw is 98% reliant on these forests – the Palm Warbler.

palm-warbler1

Palm warbler

These little warblers are some of the hardest songbirds to photograph. They are small and always moving. Each species has a particular place on the trees to feed, some at the top, some in the middle and some near the lower canopy.

“Some species feed at low and mid levels (Myrtle Warbler), some on the trunk and branches (Black-and-white Warbler), some feed at mid levels near the outside (Black-throated Green Warbler), some at mid level on the inside (Blackburnian Warbler), and others feeding at the uppermost portion of the tree (Cape May and Cerulean Warbler).” Birds Unlimited

Northern Parula-4

Northern Parula

They also prefer brushy areas making seeing the whole bird at one time difficult as they skulk through underbrush. Even though the boreal forest is mostly intact, it is not without mentioning its importance. A few of the birds that live in this forest habitat are in serious decline, so protecting the forest is an important endeavor.

Black-and-White-warbler

Black and White warbler

Many people think these are feeder or backyard birds, but they don’t generally visit garden feeders in spring. They will eat seed and berries come fall migration though, and may eat suet in spring if offered if insect populations are not plentiful.

I did have a pine warbler visit my flowering pear for insects this year since spring started off a bit cooler and late. Warblers are fond of poison ivy too and a huge one grows on my neighbors property. The warblers move about from branch to branch eating many bugs.

Black-throated-Green-Warbler-6

If you want warblers to visit, your garden must be one they find attractive. If you want warblers on your property, plant willow, oak, cypress, sycamore, pine and even magnolia. They are fond of flowering cherry and crabapple as well.

Plants for fall migration include, honeysuckle, sumac, blackberries, dogwoods, wild grapes, junipers, mulberries and bayberry. As you know, I prefer gardens to grow sans pesticides, and attracting colorful birds to a garden like the oriole and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, will help with all your pest control.

Oriole-Singing

GrosbeakMale

The warblers are not a common backyard visitor but may show up during the migration periods if you have some of their favorite bug-filled plants in the garden. I am a busy birder right now, always on the look out for birds new to me. Yesterday, I saw a Tennessee Warbler which was new and the beautiful Blackburnian that I love to see every year.

Blackburnian-WarblerFL

Blackburnian warbler

Happy birding and gardening. If you have a large property, add a few plants for the warblers.

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More spring birds and info on Nature and Wildlife Pics.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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20 Responses to Warblers in a Blink of the Eye, So Where Are They Going?

  1. Cathy says:

    Wonderful information, wonderful photos! Thanks for a truly fabulous and educational article.

  2. eulalia says:

    Beautiful warblers… beautiful birds… awesome pictures and very informstive article…

  3. Nurse Kelly says:

    I don’t know how you get these incredibly beautiful photos, Donna. I had no idea that the Boreal Forest was home to so many birds – it’s so interesting. I saw a Bluebird for the first time this spring in my yard last week – I live in Northeast Ohio. When I was a child, my grandmother told me they were the happy, cheerful birds and that I should watch for them. I’ve never forgotten that. Thank you for your beautiful posts as always.

  4. You make photographing them look easy, Donna. I don’t know how you do it! I’ve never seen a warbler, so I am appreciating them vicariously through your blog. Hope your weather is as beautiful as mine today — enjoy it! P. x

  5. LaDean Melby says:

    its really nice to know there is a site that shows good pics!

  6. You have such beautiful, colourful birds

  7. Beautiful photos! Here in the UK our warblers are very subtle in colour – yours are striking!

  8. aussiebirder says:

    Thanks Donna for sharing this interesting info on your warblers and bird migrations, pics ate great as always!

  9. I learned a lot, and the photos are great!

  10. Patty says:

    Wonderful! I always wondered exactly where they went. I get the occasional warbler passing through, although one year, many years ago, I had a bonanza ! I had about 10 different warblers in my garden. Many of them are in your fantastic pictures.

  11. John says:

    I just want to echo the comments of others – great photos!!! I’ve found it hard just to locate and identify the small birds like warblers, let alone get such a great photo of them. Very well done.

    And it’s almost the time of year here in North Dakota when the Grosbeaks and Orioles stop by on their migration, we’re pretty excited.

  12. debsgarden says:

    Looking at the map, we are in both the Eastern and Central flyways (they seem to converge in my part of Alabama!), which accounts for the large number of species we see passing through each year. However, I have never heard of or seen a Blackburnian warbler. What a lovely creature!

  13. This is a sensational post, Donna! Thank you for all the information and for sharing these excellent photos, showing some of the amazing variety among these birds. I’ve just been noticing that more of our Warblers are still here in our wooded areas than I thought, and I’m really enjoying seeing new ones. The Blackburnian is one I’d never heard of – so beautiful!

  14. Pat says:

    What wonderful captures.

  15. So wonderful pictures!!!

  16. Your images are really amazing; I love the depth of field that you now get, the images have a 3-D appearances to them. I hadn’t noticed that before, if I am slow to realize what everyone else already knows I apologize. The background information was superb, I learned a great deal and really appreciated the migration map.

  17. Great photos. We do very occasionally see warblers. They like the Serviceberries and also the crabapples.

  18. bee1designs says:

    HI Donna, These are lovely photos – as usual. What great effort you have put into taking them. Thanks!

  19. Hello there Donna! You continue to wow me with your jaw dropping captures, not to mention the information you provide with each post. I had to pop in to see your latest. Always enjoy my visits. Always!

  20. Fabulous to see so many lovely warblers….I see some at our Nature Center and once in my garden…

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