Get Ready for Warbler Mayhem

It’s gonna start soon.  It happens every year.  Spring!  Warblers will be everywhere again decorating the trees like Christmas ornaments and filling the area with a cacophony of glorious song!  I can’t wait.  It’s my favorite time of year!  Ohio is home to an extraordinary warbler experience.  Some of the best opportunities to be amazed by the event we call migration can be found right here in Ohio.

People from around the world will come to visit Ohio.  The best time to come?  May.  If you only have a short time to visit, why not base your visit around the events of Biggest Week in American Birding?  Yes, there will be lots of people.  And for good reason–they are here for the birds.  My favorite family of birds, the wood warblers, will be here in full force.  How many species of warblers can you see?  Well, technically 36 species occur regularly in Northwest Ohio at places including Magee Marsh, Crane Creek, Ottawa NWR, Maumee Bay State Park, and Oak Openings.  I usually count a good week as about 28 species of warblers.  Some of the southern species are harder to find here.  But, this year I am leading a road trip to Southern Ohio in Scioto and Adams Counties.  We’ll have a chance to see 9 species of warblers that are easier to find on their nesting grounds in the forests near the Ohio River than as rare over-shots in Northwestern Ohio.  Some of you may come away with nearly all the wood warblers found in Eastern North America.

I’ve included some charts here on my website of relative distribution for 37 species of warblers.  Check out the tab under Ohio Warblers in Spring.

Time to learn some songs, brush up on plumages, and read up on warbler habits.  Warbler Mayhem will soon be upon us!

It’s April. Do You Know Where Smith’s Longspurs Are?

For many Ohio birders, Smith’s Longspurs are merely a myth.  Haha.  They can be beastly hard to find and require a lot of luck.  But there are several things any birder can do to increase his/her chances of finding any target species.

  • Preferred breeding areas
  • Areas with wintering populations
  • Migratory movements
  • Food preferences

Smith's Longspurs (yes, there are 2 of them) photo: National Park Service

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Ohio Migration update

Waterfowl migration will be slowing down soon and shorebirds, waders, and shorebirds will be picking up.  The first warblers should show up in Ohio this week.  Using the Ohio Ornithological Society’s weekly checklist feature (for April 4), here is a list of what we can expect for new arrivals and those birds which have been straggling and will leave us this week.

First arrivals this week
Snowy Egret (rare)
Cattle Egret (rare)
Yellow-crowned Night-heron (rare)
Broad-winged Hawk (rare)
Sora (rare)
Solitary Sandpiper (rare)
Dunlin (rare)
Franklin’s Gull (rare)
Caspian Tern (rare)
Common Tern (rare)
Whip-poor-will (rare)
Marsh Wren (rare)
Black-throated Green Warbler (rare)
Yellow-throated Warbler (rare)
Black-and-white Warbler (rare)
Brewer’s Blackbird (rare)

Last departures this week
Red-throated Loon (rare)
Northern Shrike (rare)
Snow Bunting (rare)

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