Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Warbler Guy, Where may I most likely see warblers this time of year in northern California near you (or where might I see warblers in Marin County)?


Warbler Guy, Where may I most likely see warblers this time of year in northern California near you (or where might I see warblers in Marin County)?

Thanks for asking, Jeremy (in Mill Valley, CA).

Here's a great web site to note seven fine Marin County birdwatching spots (i.e., the best birding places in Marin County, and, arguably, some of the finest birding locales in northern California):

(By the way, my Web site,, features a button -- "2016 Nature Watch Calendar" -- where you can read several brief accounts that discuss wood-warblers in northern California and, in particular, wood-warblers in Marin County.)

Currently, among the seven on the list, I suggest going to Rock Springs (on Mt. Tamalpais) and
Muddy Hollow (within Point Reyes National Seashore, a paramount, iconic place on the W. Coast to see diverse species of birds in multiple families/orders).

In these two spots where forests occur, the most likely wood-warblers to see currently include TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (non-breeding season resident only; see closest above photo) and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (typically the AUDUBON's subspecies).

At Rock Springs and Muddy Hollow, watch for the much less common (in this order) ORANGE-CROWNED and HERMIT WARBLER, too -- though they are both rare to absent throughout most of Marin Co. during January (Populations of these two neotropical migrants return in late winter and spring, thereby nesting in suitable habitats throughout the County.) Even more rare at this time of year is to see the NASHVILLE WARBLER (above photo, below the headline), though it periodically makes a cameo appearance and, indeed, the local annual Christmas Bird Count surveyors sometimes extract one from the landscape.

The Stinson Beach area is another "hot spot" for periodic sightings of uncommon overwintering/non-breeding season warblers, with NASHVILLE WARBLER and HERMIT WARBLER seen there on 12/5/16 by Peter Pyle. Check out under his North Bay Birds listserv post, if you wish directions to the grove of trees where he saw these two species (as I know it's often a prime spot to watch for warblers in December/January annually).

Regards, Daniel
(features my "Birding Tours" information for the 8-hour trips I often lead for birders)

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Warbler Guy, which wood-warblers are endemic nesters to the continental U.S.?


Not many, Giselle, as only the Swainson’s, Virginia’s, Kentucky, Hermit, Golden-cheeked, and Yellow-throated Warbler have breeding ranges limited to areas within the lower 48 states.

To clarify, the Blackpoll Warbler does not qualify as an endemic nester to the continental U.S. because it breeds extensively in latitudes north (and into Canada) of the places where it breeds in the northern U.S.

(Below photo shows a male Kentucky Warbler.)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Warbler Guy, I heard World Migration Bird Day is happening soon? When? Where? How do I submit my data from sightings on this upcoming day?

Good question, Tony (in San Francisco):

In 2021, World Bird Migration Day (WBMD) is celebrated on the second Saturday of May in Canada and the US (May 8th in 2021), and the second Saturday of October in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean (October 9th in 2021). 

Tony: To learn more about WBMD and events happening near you (if any), go to:

You might also be interested in other info. related to this annual event, via:

Of course, you can submit your bird your bird migration observations on either date noted above 
(i.e., spring migration day on 5/8/21 and 10/9/21 southbound/autumn migration (for the N. Hempisphere)) by going to:

Lastly, Tony, perhaps you'd like to create your own local WBMD event?

If so, register by going to:

Questions? Contact your local Audubon chapter....One good one for you, Tony, is to email:

She's a member of a local Audubon chapter involved in WBMD or she and her staff will know about it via:

Golden Gate Audubon Society
2530 San Pablo Avenue, Suite G
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 843-2222

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Warbler Guy, which warbler species in our USA area visit nectar feeders?


"Yes," Stevie (in Orlando):

Although it sounds strange, a few warbler species visit nectar feeders (e.g., hummingbird feeders), including Orange-crowned, Nashville, Virginia, Yellow, Black-throated Green, Prothonotary, and Cape May.

(Above, Orange-crowned Warbler feeding at a hummingbird feeder)

The initial above three species tend to have longer bills that are adapted to successfully obtain
the sweet elixir (that provides them supplementary carbohydrates beyond the protein-rich insects they seek).

Cape May, by the way, even gobbles jelly birders serve to tanagers and orioles in their yards — so be on the watch for warblers at your bird feeders, folks.

Or simply grab your binoculars and enjoy a walk down your favorite trail.

Look for our fine-colored feathered friends that winging their way north, with the imminent return of several likely in the southeast, Mid-atlantic, and, yes, even the upper Midwest where a few anomalous Yellow-rumped Warblers are already present (as over-wintering individuals or early returning migrants by the end of March/early April).

Happy birding to you, Daniel {features several free birding information handouts (including some excellent articles by David Sibley) via my "Birding Links" area and information about my 25+ years of birding tours and bird guiding services (via my "Birding Tours" area)}

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Warbler Guy, do female warblers sing? If so, how many singing warbler females occur? Or only males sing? What about other singing female songbirds? Yes? No?

 Yes, Hanna (in Fargo) it's true — some female wood-warblers sing.

But not many. 

In fact, it's a lonely "crowd" of two female USA-based wood-warbler species —  Yellow and American Redstart — that sing, according to to Jon Dunn & Kimball Garrett, author of the "Warblers" field guide (Peterson Guide Field Guide Series, Houghton Mifflin, 1997).

BUT: There's good news. I recently listened to the American Birding Association's weekly podcast. A guest on that episode noted that more female songbird order species are now known to sing than previously thought. Amazingly, she claimed her research and other field professionals have determined that recent studies indicate new additions to the female choir are ongoing.

Does that mean more than two female breeding USA wood-warbler species are now should be added to the Dynamic Duo represented in the past by merely the Yellow and American Redstart?

I'm not sure, but your question prompts me to write Dr. Garrett and Mr. Dunn...and, indeed, I may see both of them in 2021 at an upcoming conference, if the virus dynamic relents and, in turn, in-person meetings again occur. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, and lastly:

Your question relates to the larger question of how singing birds develop their song.

In general, the prevailing theory until recently was that few female songbird order members (and MERELY the two aforementioned breeding USA wood-warbler species) possess physical attributes designed to memorize and learn their song (ala the males that MUST have a singing mentor from which they hear, learn, and memorize a vocalization).

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.

Meanwhile, I'm Ready, Set, Go for the spring migration north of the wood-warblers? Are you? 

We're lucky in the SF Bay Area where I live and conduct regular birding tours as a Birding Guide to detect Orange-Crowned Warbler as early as the first week of February annually....with a vanguard of other family cohorts soon to follow as late winter ends and spring arrives, including: Wilson's; Black-throated Gray; Hermit; Common Yellowthroat (another subspecies arrives to join a resident subspecies in the SF Bay Area.....and/or passes through the area heading north); Yellow-rumped (individuals arrive from the south, perhaps, with other "over-wintering" individuals leaving and heading north; and, perhaps, Northern Parula (periodic nester in Marin Co., per recent eBird reports from the 2000s forward to the current date).

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

Birding Guide

Certified Wildlife Biologist Asc.

College Instructor for all birding classes at Merritt College (Oakland, CA) (hosts my resume) (this 15-year-old wood-warbler blog)

Monday, December 28, 2020

Warbler Guy, how do I know if warbler migration is strong? Migrating warblers are more dense on some spring days than other ones?

Good question, Hector (in Toledo, OH)

One that I recommend:
(with the following pictorial graphic a past example from its web site) 

At the above link, you'll read about the current week's presence of migrators and predictions.

It is a great resource, given the BirdCast forecast highlights migrant species that you can expect to see near where you live (and elsewhere in Ohio) — in addition to several USA regions: Upper Midwest and Northeast; Gulf Coast and Southeast; Great Plains; and West. 

Regarding your question, depending on the season (and several other factors), Birdcast can help you anticipate the density and abundance to expect on an upcoming birding outing. For example, a large arrival of transient migrant songbirds could be expected for your outing, if the red/purple colors are present just south of you in the spring while a south "Gulf Stream" wind occurs. In turn, this push may result in fine birding the following morning after you view this development (at Birdcast).

I hope this answer helps you.....Feel free to float me more questions at or visit my web page for more migration information related to "Bird Arrival Times (Via Migration) For Marin Co. (where I live in the San Francisco Bay area) at (choose the "Birding Links" pulldown menu and click on the above category: "Bird Arrival Times".

As for my birding tours that I continue to host while employing several social-distancing methods, details are noted via the "Birding Tours" section at my web site (

Regards and Happy New Year to you and all my followers.....Daniel


Thursday, December 10, 2020

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

 Jerry (in southern Michigan).....Great questions. 


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.

As an FYI, I'm soon leading a tour to Bodega Bay, so I'll stop at Diekmann's Store in this town. Below its foundation on the adjoining hillsides that slope downward toward Bodega Bay, the understory this time of year, typically attracting wood-warbler species such as Townsend's (non-breeding resident) Orange-crowned (breeding resident, with some "over-wintering,") and/or Yellow-rumped Warbler (primarily, the Audubon's subspecies: Setophaga coronata auduboni with S. c. cornonata (Myrtle subspecies of the Yellow-rumped Warbler).

Bodega Bay, by the way, is one of the most popular birding destinations for the birders I lead on tours throughout central and northern California.

Thus, feel free to see the "Birding Tours" section of my web site:

Regards, Daniel Edelstein

415-382-1827 (office)
415-246-5404 (iPhone 12 Pro)