Thursday, March 28, 2024

Warbler Guy, what are your recommendations for binoculars? Where are good online stores to buy binoculars? Are binoculars expensive for finding birds?

 Peter (in Des Moines):

Plenty of choices, of course.

But where to start.

First, I ALWAYS sample any binocular or spotting scope before purchasing it. That's common sense.

More challenging: WHERE to find a good optics resource? What's a birder to do?

One quick fix: I have bought optics from the following online and storefront source that
features diverse choices for binoculars, spotting scopes, and optic accessories:

Out of This World Optics

The owners (Marilyn Rose and James Blackstock) provide personal service.

(They are at: 800-228-8252.....and Mendocino is a sweet, coastal town in southern Mendocino County, ~120 north of San Francisco)

Otherwise, visiting REI or a Wild Birds Ltd. store is a good idea because you can sample diverse binocular options BEFORE buying one.

Feel free to email me and I'll send you an article that may be helpful: DanielEdelstein at att dot com

Regards, Daniel
(features my resume and my "Birding Tours" information if you click on these two words at the home page for this web site) (the # for this blog)

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

To read current, new blog posts for 2024, please click on the "New Blog Posts" text button at the home page:

Below are wood-warbler blog posts from 2023 and before that date all the way back to 2007 when I started this blog.

Thank you.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Warbler Guy, my California bird tour means I'm looking for rare birds in California. Where do I find rare California birds on a listserv?


Hi Jeremiah....and your query is a periodic question I receive, so I'm glad to help, below.

Here's the answer to your question, above: I suggest your first move is to check: this site a composite list featuring all the listserv sites in California where birders add their bird sightings.

At, you'll see a left column by which you can one-by-one click on a chosen region of California....Upon doing so for one region, you'll see a list of the latest bird sightings lists posted by

As for common annual and upcoming migration, I am pleased to note that I 
currently have begun to hear the courtship "peek" sound from male Anna's Hummingbirds (and, actually, since October, 2022). 

During this process, males descend during their courtship dance, air rushing through their tail feathers at the bottom of their elevator drop initiates the "peek" sound.

By December annually, eggs are added to nestsin the SF Bay Area, with Great Horned Owl joining the maternity ward by January annually as females incubate eggs or hatch them.

Interestingly, also, the earliest returning Allen's Hummingbirds may begin returning by next and beyond through February and March to SF Bay Area coastal breeding locations. I expect the initial report of a returning Allen's Hummingbird to appear at by 1/15/23 or soon after.

Other questions?

Glad to help:

and please feel free to see the "Birding Tours" section and "Birding Links" section at my web site:

Regards, Daniel

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Warbler Guy, what's the difference between a New World and Old World warbler species?

Thank you, Jake (in Orlando, FL).

I'm in the field this month and currently so I'm only sharing a brief answer (below) to your excellent question.

The short answer is only two bird families compose the New World warbler species that total approximately 114 species in North, Central, and South America (Parulidae family (~113 species) and Peucedramidae family (1 species: Olive Warbler).

The Old World warbler species occur in the Sylviidae family, which are primarily present in the Eastern Hemisphere that include Eurasian and African countries. Note that warbler and babbler species are present in this family that totals approximately 400 species among 70 genera.

Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy detecting Common Yellowthroat near me today during my wetland survey along the San Francisco Bay where I live in Novato (Marin County).

Hence, it's time to return to my outdoor foray....Hope to meet you if you ever visit our area, Jake.....Glad to plan a birding tour with you via:

Happy Holidays, Daniel

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Warbler Guy, did Kirtland's Warbler nest successfully in Wisconsin this year? Wisconsin Kirtland's Warbler were found nesting in more than one county?

Great question, Barry (in Stevens Point, WI).

 "Yes," correct: Kirtland's Warbler is an annual nester in more than one county in Wisconsin....with a nice summary of its success present at the following link:

As for 2022, I will soon post an updated summary report from the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.

Among Wisconsin counties annually hosting this federally endangered species, Adams County in central/north-central Wisconsin.

As you may already know, the Wisconsin nesting success phenomenon is a recent extension of this species' breeding range beyond Michigan where it traditionally breeds each year in approximately 10 counties (along with one Ontario nesting site).

Feel free to return soon here for the 2022 summary report I hope to soon receive.

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Birding Guide


Consulting Avian Biologist

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Warbler Guy, how many wood-warblers exist? How many do you see?

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 both in the spring and fall to search for neotropical migrant species, including wood-warbler family members. 

In so doing, I totaled 23 in the spring and 16 last month. 

All of these species are rare to absent by November in Wisconsin, except for the occasional remaining American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Palm Warbler, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. The latter three may sometimes be detected during southern Wisconsin Christmas Bird Counts, with Yellow-rumped the most typical one seen.

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.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Warbler Guy, where do I learn about "reading" warbler songs (sonograms or spectrograms)? Is Warbler song easy to "read?"

 Kathy, there's a one-stop shopping venue for all your edification needs:

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: 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.