Sunday, March 18, 2018

Warbler Guy, is there a good warbler app? An app featuring warbler photos?

Yes, Avrial (in Miami):

I recommend the new warbler app from Princeton University Press.

The one I like is complementary to The Warbler Guide.

I copied and pasted from the Press's web site the following information:

The Warbler Guide App is the perfect companion to Princeton’s revolutionary and widely acclaimed book The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle. Taking full advantage of the Apple iOS® platform, the app allows you to identify birds by view or song, quickly and intuitively.

Exciting new 3D graphics enable you to view a bird from the exact angle you see it in the field. And the whole range of warbler songs is easily played, compared, and filtered. Whether for study or field use, this innovative app delivers the full power of The Warbler Guide in your pocket, built from the ground up for the Apple iOS® platform, and complete with unique new app-only features.

Breakthrough features from The Warbler Guide book that are included in the app:
  • Rapid and confident two-step ID process using visual finders and comparison species
  • The first complete treatment of warbler songs, using a new objective vocabulary
  • An intuitive visual finder that includes side, 45 degree, and undertail views
  • Master Pages with detailed ID points
  • Complete guide to determining the age and sex of warblers with photos of all ages and sexes
  • Annotated sonograms showing song structure and key ID points
  • Complete songs, chip calls, and flight calls for all species
  • Comparison species for making confident visual and audio IDs
  • Many additional photos to show behavior and reinforce key ID points
  • Highlighted diagnostic ID points
  • Color Impression Icons for narrowing down ID of warblers from the briefest glimpses
  • Behavior and habitat icons

Unique new app-only features:
  • 3D models of birds in all plumages, rotatable and pinch-zoomable to match field experience of a bird
  • Intuitive, visual, and interactive finders with filters for possible species based on audio and visual criteria chosen by the user
  • Playback of all songs and vocalizations with sonograms makes study of vocalizations easy
  • iPhone® and iPad® versions let you take these useful tools into the field
  • Selectable finder sortings grouped by color, alphabetical order, song type, and taxonomic order
  • Interactive song finder using objective vocabulary for fast ID of unknown songs
  • Simultaneous visual and song finders makes identifying an unknown warbler even easier
  • Half-speed song playback allows for easier study of song structure
  • Comparison species with selectable side, 45 degree, and undertail views
  • Features 75 3D images
  • Covers 48 species and 75 plumages
  • Includes 277 vocalizations, 156 songs, 73 contact calls, and 48 flight calls

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Warbler Guy, what are some techniques I can use to increase my ability to remember warbler songs and commit them to my long-term memory? Birding by ear tips you recommend?

Excellent question, Bernice (in Chicago).

Everyone’s different, I have discovered, in terms of learning style in the field and progressing toward a Master’s of Science in IDing Birds By Ear.

That’s why I offer 10 diverse hints in my Top Ten Tips To Improving Your Birding By Ear handout that’s free at my web site:

There, first click on “Birding Links,” and when the next screen shows a menu of files, click on Top Ten Tips To Improving Your Birding By Ear to access it and/or print it.

As a prequel to what you’ll read, here’s one tip among the 10:

#5. “Draw” bird vocalizations using your own “short-hand” notation marks, ala the chapter in Sibley’s Birding Basics (i.e., a quasi-sonogram shorthand method that he introduces). After your birding foray and when you’re out of the field, use these written notation marks while listening to songs/calls on media (e.g., CDs) to ID the species you heard and/or better learn their song/call patterns.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Warbler Guy, where do I register for ebird rare alert email posts?

Henry (in Janesville, WI).....There's a page at to do this task.

The following information is accessed via:

eBird Rare Bird Alerts

This eBird Alert notifies you about any unusual bird that has been reported in your region of interest, and provides a link to the location and to the checklist so you can get more information about the sighting, and make the critical call as to whether it's worth calling in sick to work! You can choose to receive Rare Bird Alerts on either the county, state, or country level, and get notices for all rare birds in that region! Read on for details on how the rarities are determined.

Like all alerts
, you have the option to subscribe hourly, daily, or just to visit the Alerts page and click to see the results from the past seven days. Since most Alerts will be drawing on your eBird data, you are required to log in to see them. Check out the article on subscribing and unsubscribing to Alerts for more information.

How it works
The Rare Bird Alert works in conjunction with the regional eBird checklist filters. Every time a record is entered in eBird, the location and date of the sighting is run against a list of expected maximum counts for each species in the area. If the number of birds in the sighting exceeds those expected counts, you receive the eBird confirmation message (always a sign that you have found a good bird!), asking you to confirm your entry. An Oleaginous Hemispingus at eBird HQ in Sapsucker Woods would definitely show up on these reports. These records are then confirmed by our volunteer expert reviewers, and these steps are critical to our data quality process. These checklist filters define what constitutes a "rare bird" in a region by highlighting any species (or subspecies) with the count limit set to zero, and those are the reports featured in the Rare Bird Alerts! These Alerts include not only out-of-range birds, but also unseasonal sightings. So a Curve-billed Thrasher showing up in Vermont obviously would be considered a rarity, but so would a January report of Red-eyed Vireo from the same area. As with other alerts, rarity records that have not been reviewed by an eBird editor are labeled as "UNCONFIRMED". Once records have been reviewed and approved, they are labeled as "CONFIRMED".

eBird checklist filters 
Please be aware that our Rare Bird Alerts rely on the quality of the checklist filter running behind it. Although eBird is a global project, these checklist filters are still fairly coarse in many areas outside North America, and these coarse filters could miss some reports of rarities. The United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Chile, Argentina, and Costa Rica as well as the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and scattered other countries and regions have refined, detailed filters. But for many other countries the filters are in need of refinement from experts, including most of Africa and Asia, parts of Europe, and even some areas in the New World (Guyana, Colombia, and a few others). If you are willing to help develop filters in these parts of the world, we would welcome your help (please get in touch at Also, if you think a bird should show up on the Rare Bird Alert and it isn't, drop us a line so we can modify the filter accordingly!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Warbler Guy, is it unusual to see wood-warblers at backyard seed feeders? Wood-warblers at feeders I can expect to see?

Jerry (in Michigan).....Great question, as in your area this time of year I'd expect potential seed feeder sightings from a lonely, uncommon Pine Warbler or Yellow-rumped Warbler.

In the West along coastal California, it's not common, but Townsend's Warbler could show up along with Yellow-rumped.

Yellow-rumped subspecies in the lower 48 states —both Myrtle and Audubon's — are able to digest waxy coatings on seeds (such as privet and wax myrtle berries), unlike most other wood-warbler species....and they also seem to have hearty digestive juices to process seeds (as does Pine).

Otherwise, I have to admit in my 40 years of birding, I've never seen any other species at seed feeders.....though nectar feeders sometimes coax Cape May Warbler, among others.

I'm out to lead a birding tour soon to Bodega Bay, so wishing you the best.....Feel free to see my "Birding Tours" area at my web site:

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Monday, January 1, 2018

Warbler Guy, given you appear to be a birding guide in N. CA, where can I find reports of bird sightings there?

Sally (in Joliet, IL)....

Glad to Share and Tell the answer:

1. Go to:

2. Here, read current and recent bird sighting reports from various spots in n. California.

3. Or click on the pulldown menu to find a specific region that has a listserv
list of bird sightings whose geographic area corresponds to where you plan on birding (e.g., the listserv titled "NorthBayBirds" at comprises Marin Co. where I well
as other San Francisco Bay counties such as Sonoma and Napa Co.).

4. Email me at if you have more questions about finding various birding spots reported by folks who may not include directions to help you find birding venues.

Regards, Daniel
(Please feel free to see the "Birding Tours" area for information about my outings.)

415-382-1827 (o)

P.S.: You may be interested in my latest warbler quiz on the far right column here?

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Warbler Guy, where can I read about multiple warblers' nesting habits, warbler migration patterns, warbler songs, etc.?

Syd (in New York), you cannot go wrong by visiting:

This site features a comprehensive list of more than 720 North American species, with all of this area's Parulidae (warbler family) members present.

Yes, it costs money: $42 per year or $100 for three years.

Cannot recommend it enough. Thumbs (way) up (!)

Happy Holidays, Daniel

warblerwatch (features my "Birding Tours" area and birding information for n. CA)

Friday, December 8, 2017

Warbler Guy, is it common to see warblers during the winter? Are sightings of non-breeding season warblers typical in the East and Midwest?

Greg (in Baltimore), I could provide you details, yet definitely not better than the following fine article at Nemesis Bird that provides an explanation of "winter" warbler abundance for the East:

As for the West, say, in northern California where I live, the most typical warbler species to see (from most common to rarest in the order shown below) include:

- Yellow-rumped (both Myrtle and Audubon's subspecies occur in diverse habitats in great abundance, though Audubon's far outnumber the former);
- Common Yellowthroat (considered a resident throughout parts of n. CA, including the SF Bay Area) (male, immediately below and female below the male);

- Orange-crowned (although most depart annually be each autumn, a small number remain throughout the non-breeding season before they are again joined by returning migrants in February/March);
- Hermit (similar in abundance to the explanation noted for Orange-crowned, above);
- Palm (rare to absent during the non-breeding season, though often seen during the fall migration window....considered a vagrant sighting by many birders who observe this species in n. CA);
- Wilson's (even less common to detect during the non-breeding season than Orange-crowned and Hermit);
- Nashville (a few occur during the non-breeding season, but it's typically rare to absent)
- Black-throated Grey (rare to absent during the non-breeding season); and
- Yellow (although this species is common to see as a fall migrant throughout much of n. CA, it is usually rare to absent by November - March in this region).