Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Warbler Guy, here's a first-year Blackburnian Warbler, correct?

Yes, indeed: The banded warbler shown in these photos is a beautiful first-year Blackburnian Warbler.
(Photos courtesy of Dave Noel.)

Not the absence of bright orange in the throat and, instead, a hue of faint yellow. The varied head pattern is also a good clue.

Enjoy the migration and your sightings, everyone. Regards, Daniel


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Warbler Guy, why does American Redstart occur in California more often than most other so-called "East Coast" warblers? Is American Redstart a vagrant on the West Coast?

Excellent question, Joey (in Santa Monica).

Fact is, American Redstart is not always a vagrant in California when detected during the spring and late summer/fall.

That's because its far western home range into Alaska places it in the pathway of where some individuals may migrate up and down the West Coast.

Equally important, a northern California breeding population in the farthest region of the state has occurred in the past.

As a result, it's possible sporadic to annual breeders in this area could be southward migrating individuals that California birders detect, for example, in the outer point of Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County or at Bodega Head in Sonoma County.

That written, it's absolutely possible some Midwestern and East Coast American Redstarts are seen in California. The species is abundant and locally common throughout much of its range, so, given the plethora of newborns, it's possible some become disoriented as vagrants spotted on the West Coast.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Warbler Guy, why is it so challenging to find warblers now? Are warblers absent already?

Ned (in New York), there's good reasons why the forest seems devoid of wood-warblers this time of the year.

(Above, a molting non-warbler species)

One, many nesters have already completed their cycle, so their fledged newborns have dispersed. The adults themselves have done likewise, with some already migrating south.

Two, many songbirds molt before migrating south, so, because they are vulnerable while their new feathers grow, they remain out of view and less easy to spot.

Of course, some wood-warbler species are already in full southward migration, including such species as Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow Warbler, and Tennessee Warbler — among others.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Any recent warbler name changes, Warbler Guy? Is the new 2014 AOU Check-list Supplement published yet?

Randy, please see:


No significant N. America wood-warbler taxonomic changes have occurred except for the Arctic Warbler. (Read the link for more information.)

To me, the most interesting development was a restructuring of the King and Clapper Rail complex.

To wit, on the West Coast where I live the Clapper Rail is now Ridgway's Clapper Rail.
It contains three subspecies: the California (obsoletus), Yuma (yumanensis) and Light-footed (levipes).

Per the above link, the name "Clapper Rail" remains the same for the East Coast version of this bird, but its scientific name changed (to Rallus crepitans).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Warbler Guy, which warblers are the most confusing to identify because they look like other species? Any tips to identify look-alike warblers?

Jamie (in Boston), I like the pictorial guide to confusing look-alike species in The Warbler Guide
("Comparison Species" corresponding to each warbler account and, in addition, pages 512-519 within the "Similar Non-Warbler Species" section).

(Orange-crowned Warbler is shown above.)

In this section, photographs of these look-alike birds feature both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglet, Bushtit, Verdin, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-Capped Chickadee, Blue-headed (and Plumbeous and Cassin's) Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbler Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Bell's Vireo, Sparrow species, and Eastern Towhee.

This field guide is excellent and recommend it for many other outstanding features that few other field guides host.

Happy Summer, Daniel



Friday, June 20, 2014

Warbler Guy, how do I use ebird to see where and when Kirtland's Warbler was last seen in Wisconsin? Can you tell me where Kirtland's Warbler was seen in 2014 in Wisconsin?

Sure, Jo...Good question.

Go to:

Here, from a May 23rd sighting, you can see Jan Seiler's comment about her Kirtland's Warbler observation:

On a Wisconsin Natural Resources trip, two (male and female) Kirtland's were seen by a group of 10 participants. Male was singing from top of dead tree, female appeared briefly close-by.

Here sighting along with other recent ones in Wisconsin mean this rare species has now nested in the state for seven or eight consecutive nesting seasons since the mid-2000s when they were initially confirmed as nesters.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Warbler Guy, your last post prompted me to wonder: What's being done to save Kirtland's Warbler?

Jonny (in Ann Arbor, MI)......Fine question.

Here's a link to a web site that is raising money that, in combination with ongoing management efforts by the USFWS, is helping maintain essential, suitable habitat for this species to successfully nest in Wisconsin and Michigan:


Here, you'll learn about the Kirtland's Warbler Initiative:

Kirtland's Warbler Initiative

The Kirtland's Warbler Initiative is building the support network necessary to delist the species from the Endangered Species List and ensuring the warbler continues to thrive into the future.
“In the discipline of conservation, there is no greater achievement that ‘Recovery’The Kirtland’s warbler is the first bird species to recover as a result of traditional habitat and conservation methods andit offers us a path forward for nearly all endangered species.”
~John Curry, Former Assistant Director, Central Partnership Office, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- See more at: http://www.huronpines.org/program.asp?pjt=gv&gid=6#sthash.NSnl849u.dpuf

Please feel free to donate money to this group, per the web site's instruction.

Regards and now back to warbler sleuthing....Daniel