is to note that several wood-warbler species likely
benefit from changed coffee farming methods that
favor “shade-grown” coffee, including Canada, Wilson's, Black-throated Green, and Cerulean Warbler. Cerulean populations, in specific, have dropped precipitously, perhaps in part due to habitat destruction of their "wintering" grounds (per Breeding Bird Survey trends and results suggested by other monitoring efforts).
To learn more (go to the ShadeCoffee.org web site) and/or see the following two links:
Yes, Hanna (in Fargo) it's true — some female wood-warblers sing.
But not many.
Only two of our New World wood-warbler family members sing — Yellow and American Red-start — according to Jon Dunn and Kimball Garrett, author of the "Warblers" field guide (Peterson Guide Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
Then again, note Dunn and Garrett's findings are 22 years old. In recent years, researchers have witnessed several more female songbird order members expressing song. So, it's possible one or more other wood-warbler female species also perform song renditions.
Why do fewer females than males sing among songbirds? Speculation abounds, but one recent theory is that the majority of females previously sang, but through time lost their ability to do so
while males retained song as a primary function.
Next, note that wood-warblers are like most other songbirds. They experience a period of practicing a song in a stage that is called "plasticity."
Depending on the species of wood-warbler, true, definitive adult song is achieved by no later than the commencement of the following breeding season after a newborn singer arrives in a previous year's brood.
When that moment of virtuosity appears, it's called "crystalization" (when complete, full, learned song can be repeated by an individual).
Now there's a magnificent term that rings a chord of delight in any birder's heart.
(I still haven't revealed who the female singing species of wood-warblers are on the landscape. If you wish to know before the quiz deadline occurs, please feel free to email me:
Kathy, there's a one-stop shopping venue for all your edification needs: earbirding.com
Here, Nathan Pieplow, an erudite sound recordist and expert birder, highlights many "ear birding"
elements, including ways for you to easily read sonograms/spectrograms.
Please see his web site: earbirding.org and his recent book's are excellent on this subject: a) Petersen Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western N. America and b) Petersen Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern N. America.
The above web site is so good that it gets a top rating from Warbler Guy's advisory panel: me, myself, and I.
Seriously, reading and interpreting sonograms/spectrograms takes practice, but after a while you can
see the elements upon the page that originally looked like gibberish make sense.
Ergo, you'll quickly have no problems identifying a song sparrow classic song via its sonogram in comparison to a common yellowthroat's, and so on.
Other resources for identifying birds by sound and "ear birding" abound.....Some of my favorite are books by Dr. Donald Kroodsma, who authored the classic: The Singing Life Of Birds.
Is warbler song easy to read on sonograms? Some people find them easier to comprehend than others. I think the above resources will help. My opinion is that some sonogram songs are easy to understand and others are more incomprehensible.
New World wood-warblers (that are not closely related to the various Old World warblers in the Eastern Hemisphere (e.g., Europe, Asia) are often identified to number as 112-115 species, occurring among 24-26 genera. The centers (or “epicenters”) of their breeding areas occur in eastern North America, the West Indies, Mexico and Central America, and Andean South America.
The majority of northern-latitude breeding species migrate, but many island and tropical species are sedentary. Many of these latter species remain close to their birthing areas or perform short-distance, post-breeding altitudinal/elevation migrations.
As for myself, I often see 20-30 wood-warbler species during early May when I return to homecoming birding forays in the Midwest (and, concurrently, attend the annual Wisconsin Society For Ornithology conference). This year, I was lucky to visit Wisconsin again on another week-long June jaunt similar areas in Door County, but achieved merely a single digit wood-warbler total. Likewise, my birding efforts in southern Wisconsin on my recent visit provided challenging warbler conditions, with Milwaukee County nearly devoid of warbler detections, except for probable nesting species such as American Redstart, Mourning Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, and Yellow Warbler.
In contrast, my n. CA residency, yields more warbler species during the breeding season — a result that surprises many people because the West is thought to host far fewer warbler species. For example, in Marin County (Bay Area) where I live, I often detect at least eight warbler species annually and, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (near Yuba Pass and/or amid the Gold Lakes country off of Highway 49 near Bassetts), I sometimes successfully sleuth out nine warbler species.