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.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Photo Quiz....Can You ID These Birds? Which One Is NOT a Warbler? To Which Does The Non-Warbler Belong?

 . . and good day to all. . . and who wishes to vote on the ID of the following four wood-warbler photos, BELOW?

(See FAR below for answers...Wish to Share and Tell this quiz with your birding friends....Thank you in advance, Daniel Edelstein, Birding Guide

(Photos courtesy of Martin Meyers.)

Answers from top to bottom: Prothonotary Warbler and Yellow-breasted Chat, with 
the latter now in the Icteriidae family. It's no longer in the wood-warbler family (Parulidae).

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Warbler Guy, is July too early to see dispersing and migrating wood-warblers? When does warbler migration begin?

 Good question, Altuve (in Florida):

The answer is complex, but here's a few simplified, applicable principles:

1. For the majority of wood-warbler species in the Lower 48 of the USA, an initial clutch of newborns has already occurred.

Likewise, a good percentage first-year individuals have already dispersed from their natal nest origin.

This behavior may include foraging nearby where they were born, but not yet migrating by night to a non-breeding, "over-wintering" territory.

2. Which species are early dispersers (and migrators)?

In the West where I live (in the San Francisco Bay Area), Orange-crowned Warbler has completed its nesting cycle. Both young and adults have dispersed elsewhere, including (in some cases) to higher elevation "intermediate" staging areas where foraging opportunities are more successful where larger blooms of insects remain robust compared to the dry, often hot weather in non-coastal Bay Area locations.

In many cases, true southbound migration will follow by August and September.

In the East and Midwest, early dispersers include Tennessee and Yellow Warbler. By late July and August, I have periodically seen banders nets hosting these two species in areas where they do not nest.

3. As for more peak periods of warbler migration, it's fair to suggest that August and September are more common to note larger pulses of many other warbler species during the day as they forage before migrating at night to areas that range from southern states to Central America.

Then again, in my area, we welcome back a plentitude of Townsend's Warbler individuals by September and October as they return for the non-breeding season from more northern latitude breeding grounds. 

I hope this explanation helps.

Regards, Daniel

Birding Guide

Avian Biologist

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Warbler Guy, what's one quick tip to improve my birding by ear? Bird song memory is hard! -- so tips to learning bird songs and bird calls would be appreciated.

 Here's two fast relief pills to take online for learning bird vocalizations and, in particular, wood-warbler songs:

1. Go to

Type in the name of the nemesis bird that has you flummoxed (It's free, but you need to create an account with your use name and password).

2. To assess warbler species' songs and calls, go to the following web site that's associated with the excellent, incisive book The Warbler Guide (by Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson):

You may also wish to view:

and click on the "Companion Guide" button on the right side......Comprehensive information (!)

Otherwise, feel free to see my web site's home page and the "Birding Links" tab pulldown menu where a free handout titled "Top 10 Tips To Improving Your Birding By Ear" appears.

Happy birding and warbler hunting to all, Daniel


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Warbler Guy, where's some of the most ideal migrant trap, migrant hot spots in the USA?

 Good questions, Benjamin (in Seattle).

Dozens of excellent "migrant traps" for watching warblers and other songbirds exist in the lower 48 states in the USA.

I'll mention a few here: (courtesy of

There's many other excellent options beyond the ones I note below. Which ones would you add to my list?


Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Georgia
33.91 N 84.61 W
The mile-long road to the top of the "mountain" should yield about 20 warbler species in late April. On weekends, you can ride a shuttle bus to the top. Good trails cover most of this park located about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta.

Cape May, NJ
38.56 N 74.57 W
Hawks "funnel" into Cape May each fall, making this the best spot on the East Coast for raptors. Fantastic for warblers and other migrating birds in spring and fall. One of the top 10 spots in North America.

Central Park, New York City
40.47 N 73.58 W
Birds? In New York City? During spring migration, Central Park is a welcomed island of green trees in the middle of a concrete desert. Warblers, Tanagers, Grosbeaks (and maybe a Rock Dove).

Crane Creek/Magee Marsh/Ottawa NWR
41.37 N 83.09 W
Spring migration here may be even better than Point Pelee -- and two hours closer if you live in Ohio! Go visit the Oak Openings and Irwin Prairie on the west side of Toledo as well.

Point Pelee
41.56 N 82.31 W
This tip of Ontario extends into Lake Erie, forming a welcome site for migrating birds in May and a natural "funnel" in the fall. Warblers in the spring are everywhere. Watch the flight of Monarch butterflies and huge flocks of Blue Jays in the fall. Considered by most as one of the Top 10 birding spots in North America.

Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin
43.42 N 89.73 W
Great scenery and a mix of northern and southern birds can be found here. For worm-eating Warbler, try nearby Baxter's Hollow Preserve. The International Crane Foundation is located just north of here in Baraboo.


As for when warbler migration begins during the spring, the range of dates vary by latitude and, often, annually, based on weather patterns.

In general (and to oversimplify), warbler migration begins in Florida in March (and becomes obvious by April) while southern Wisconsin, for example, attracts warblers in abundance by the last week of April (though it more typically peaks in the first or second week of May). Point Pelee (noted above) is often best visited during the initial days of May while upper Michigan usually peaks with warbler activity during the third and fourth weeks of May.

That's not to say warbler migration is absent prior to March in Florida or prior to May in Wisconsin. Early warbler visitors are present in both areas (e.g., LA Waterthrush in FL; Yellow-rumped and Palm Warbler in WI, among other species).

But, again, in general, warbler migration is best considered an April and May phenomenon in most lower 48 USA states.