Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Warbler Guy, which 2014 name changes may happen for West Coast warblers? Will they affect warbler classification checklists?

Fine question, Jory.

Quick answer: No name changes. Your checklists will remain unchanged.

More details?

Consider that current avian classification and name changes for N. & Middle America are pending within the American Ornithologists’ Union committee that will soon vote about various proposals that are listed at:


A PDF file of these pending proposals is accessed via:


Proposals germane to West Coast (lower 48 states) bird species are minimal, unless you consider this region to include Alaska. Here, where the Arctic Warbler breeds, a proposal would split it into three species (two new species names would result from the current Phylloscopus borealis). 

Stay tuned.

(Note, however: the Arctic Warbler is not a member of the New World wood-warbler family (Parulidae) that hosts the USA's most common, popular species.

Instead, this species is in the newly-described Phylloscopidae family, a taxon that was formerly in the Old World warbler family (Sylviidae). Pyylloscopidae family members primarily live in Eurasia, ranging into Wallacea and Africa. Most species frequent forest and scrub habitats where they catch insects on the wing. 

This family contains two genera, the Phyllocopus (of which the Arctic Warbler is a member) and the Seicercus, totaling approximately 66 species).)

Regards, Danieldanieledelstein@att.netwarblerwatch.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Warbler Guy, which migrating warbler arrives first on the East Coast? Which warbler arrival shall I expect on the West Coast? Warbler migration has begun?

Lori, those are great questions.

The brief answer is look for the following warblers to initially appear as true returning migrants on the East Coast from the Mid-Atlantic north:

- Louisiana Waterthrush
- Palm Warbler
- Common Yellowthroat
- Yellow-rumped Warbler

For the West Coast, it's even more simplified:

- Orange-crowned Warbler (photo shown here) is often the most common returning nesting species, typically arriving by late February to early March, if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live.

March 6 is the mean annual arrival date for this species on the coast in W. Marin Co. at the Palomarin (near Bolinas) bird banding station, based on 1967-1989 records. The earliest return date in this span is 2/27 and 3/16 was the latest.

Palm, Wilson's, and Yellow Warbler may also be early returnees on the West Coast, though it's challenging to definitively determine if sightings of these species are true migrants or "over-wintering" individuals.

Some Orange-crowned individuals in the Bay Area also may "over-winter," as Christmas Bird Count surveys in the San Francisco Bay Area often record this species and rare to periodic reports for this species persist throughout the winter during most years from Bay Area counties. In this case, if I hear an associated Orange-crowned song in February or March, then I usually deem the aria a returning migrant individual.

Happy birding, Daniel
danieledelstein at att dot net
warblerwatch dot com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Warbler Guy, which field guide has excellent warbler photos that my child will like? I am seeking photos of warblers, so maybe you can suggest a warbler photo field guide?

Sure, Mara:

The Birds of Western North America: A Photographic Guide (University of Princeton Press, 2009)
features fine, larger photos than the typical bird field guide.

I use it with my own child and, in fact, it's excellent for my tour guiding on the trail because birders can see the images from afar and close to me when a group is gathered tightly.

Granted, it's western North America-based with its content, but plenty of Midwest and East Coast warblers are also shown.

Full disclosure: I received my copy free as a reviewer, yet I would buy this guide even if I were not so lucky as to get one.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Warbler Guy, I'm heading to Alaska in June, 2014. Which warblers nest in Alaska? Alaska warblers are common? Warbler watching in Alaska is easy?

Jodie, I'm lucky to note that I've birded on one (too brief) vacation in Alaska.

The most typical nesting New World wood-warblers (Parulidae family) there include:

- Blackpoll
- Yellow
- Orange-crowned
- Northern Waterthrush
- American Redstart
- Common Yellowthroat
- Wilson's
- Yellow-rumped
- McGillivray's
- Townsend's

The Dusky Warbler (in the Leaf Warbler family) is also present.

Does this help?

Regards from Daniel, your Marin County, California birding guide

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Warbler Guy, which warblers are most likely to be seen on Christmas Bird Count surveys in the Midwest? Warblers in the East? Warblers in New England?

Stacey, you may be asking this question because some Yellow-rumped Warbler(s) were seen on recent Christmas Bird Count(s) (CBC)?

If so, you are spot-on in thinking this species is the most likely Parulidae (wood-warbler) Family member to show up during the non-breeding season in northern latitudes.

Here's one posting of a Rare Bird Alert from New Hampshire where people witnessed three

3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were seen at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye on 
December 29th.

For the full account of the "rare" bird species detected during this 1/1/14 CBC survey, please see:
Which other warbler species are the most likely to appear in the dead of winter in NH or other upper Midwest and East Coast areas?
Beyond the YRWA, look for the following as the "usual suspects":
(and NOT typically annual every "winter" in northern USA latitudes):
- Common Yellowthroat
- Palm
- Yellow-breasted Chat (more typically Mid-Atlantic and south from there)
- Pine (sometimes eats seeds at winter feeders)
Long shots, and rarely present (and NOT typically annual every "winter"):
- Bay-breasted
- Black-and-white
- American Redstart
- Cape May
Feel free to write me with more questions, Stacey....and other readers: