Thursday, May 19, 2011

Warbler Migration

Marigold Warbler - Girdled Road Reservation
May is the best time to see some of America’s most beautiful birds – the warbler.  These tiny, colorful songbirds migrate in waves of several different species creating a spectacle of brilliant colors.  

Look for these beauties in Lake Metroparks at Chagrin River Park, Lakeshore Reservation and Girdled Road Reservation.



Cool Facts about the Magnolia Warbler

  •  Though it has very specific habitat preferences in the breeding season, the Magnolia Warbler occupies a very broad range of habitats in winter:  from sea level to 1,500 meters elevation, and most landscape types, except cleared fields.
  • The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time.
  • The male Magnolia Warbler has two songs. The first song, issued in courtship and around the nest, consists of three short phrases with an accented ending. The second song, possibly issued in territory defense against other males, is similar to the first but is sweeter and less accented.
    Source: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
James McCarty from The Plain Dealer wrote recently in his column Ariel View:

May is the best time of the year for birders, with fresh waves of migrants arriving daily.

This is old news for veteran birders , but for all of you newbies and future birders out there consider this a head's up: May is the equivalent of the holiday season for birders. 

Waves of migrating warblers, hawks, flycatchers, vireos, orioles, tanagers, and other colorful songbirds are arriving daily by the thousands, confirmed by radar images as well as your own eyes and ears. 

It's a special time for bird walks, reuniting with old friends, basking in the balmy weather, and enjoying the largest variety of birds to be found in Northeast Ohio at any time of the year. 

For further evidence, just log onto Ohio Birds.  The web site is overflowing with notable bird-sighting reports from around the state. 
Source:James McCarty, Ariel View.

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