Friday, August 27, 2010

Warblers 2-Common Residents of Minnesota

Below are pictures of a few of the more common species out of the 32 types of warblers found in Minnesota. Species like the American Redstart and the Yellow Warbler are found across most of the state. Other species are only seen in migration around my location so it is exciting to await their visits in May and September. This year was an especially poor year for the spring warbler migration. However it appears that numbers on the breeding grounds were normal so we suspect the warbler waves just overflew us on their way north. Spring weather patterns may have had something to do with this.

The Yellow Warbler is usually abundant around wetlands and other bodies of water. The scientific name of this bird , D. petechia, uses the same Latin root as the medical term for a rash. This refers to the rusty red streaking on the birds chest.

A less seen warbler that we were lucky enough to catch last May is the Blackburnian Warbler. Often seen high up in the canopy this female was caught as she was skulking through some low shrubs near a wetland. The female is not as bright as the male but is beautiful none the less.

A common breeding species locally is the American Redstart. It is probably one of the easiest species to identify by sound because of its harsh call. Usually this is a species that is not hard to find even when other birds are hiding.

The gray head and bright eye-ring are the key to identifying this Nashville Warbler. One of the earlier spring migrants, it is also one of the first returning migrants in the fall. Late August is already seeing this species in good numbers.

Often seen migrating at the same time as the Nashville is the Tennessee Warbler. This can be a tough bird to age and sex while banding because of the overall less vibrant fall coloration. When this species moves through an area it is often the most numerous bird around. At one banding session we caught 18 Tennessee Warblers in just 3 hours.

As a group, warblers are one of the most sought after birds on any spring excursion. Lots of birders will talk of a 15 or 20+ warbler day in May in Minnesota. The fall can provide just as much variety but it takes a bit more effort and skill to ID these "confusing fall warblers".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I saw a warbler last week on the trails by cty rd j north of Shoreview. Small with the black and white wing bars/stripes. But had a brilliant yellow rump and yellow on the head. Would stay still for my amateur eyes. Any idea which one?

Also, are you able to tell me how I can identify a bird by song. There is a common song that I can't identify and no one else seems to know.