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Warbler Month

September is WARBLER MONTH

Yellow-rumped WarblerIt's warbler time. Throughout most of North America, September is the best time of the year to see the jewels of the treetops.

Many warblers breed in the far north and spend the winter in Central America. The only chance to see them in most of the continent is while they're rushing north in spring or while they're on their way south in fall.

Beautiful singers and lovely to look at, warblers are easy to overlook entirely. Most people have no idea about the flood of tiny birds passing through their towns and backyards during migration times. If they just went outside with binoculars and looked up into the trees they would be in for a great treat.

Warbler migration peaks in September, when dozens of warbler species are heading south. They seldom sing during fall migration, so you have to find them with your eyes. It's a challenge, because the birds are small and fast-moving, and many of them stay high in the trees.

Louisiana WaterthrushSome hang out near the ground, though, offering an easier chance to see them. Louisiana and northern waterthrushes often linger along small streams, where they forage in shallow water.

Others spend most of their time on the forest floor. Although you don't have to bend your neck to see them, they can be surprisingly elusive in the undergrowth.

Mourning Warbler     





Deep in a thicket, you glimpse the broken eyering of an immature mourning warbler. The next moment it's gone, just like that. But if you've spent some time looking through the warbler section of your field guide, you'll be ready. In the split second that the bird is in view, you recognize it.

And even those times when you don't quite make out a warbler's identity, it's a great pleasure to connect with a tiny piece of the world's mystery.

It's a peak experience. And an experience that can be had on most September mornings. All you have to do is go outside and look.

Diane PorterBut don't put it off. When the warblers are gone, they won't be back until next spring.

Good birding!

Copyright 2006 by Diane Porter

Photos copyright 2002-2006 Michael and Diane Porter

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Watching warblers in action

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