Where Are The Warblers Now 2016 Edition

Just back from a riverboat cruise on the Amazon River with Wildside Nature Tours. What a trip it was! A post and report will be forthcoming…soon I hope. In the meantime, I am behind on warbler migration. The last few years I have linked the Eastern Wood Warblers with their corresponding realtime updated maps in eBird. See link below.

You will note that I have 2 additional columns: Lower48 Rank and Lower48 Miller Scale. The Lower48 Rank is a sequential ranking of the total number of positive checklists submitted to eBird for a specific species in the Lower 48 contiguous States of the U.S. The lower the rank, the more commonly reported that species is in eBird. The most commonly reported species in eBird in the Lower 48 States is Mourning Dove. So it gets a rank of 1. Yellow-rumped Warbler is the most commonly reported warbler in eBird. It has a Lower 48 Rank of 27. It is the 27th most commonly reported species in eBird in the Lower 48 States. Kirkland’s Warbler is the warbler with the least total checklists in my list with a Lower 48 Rank of 623.

The Miller Scale is a little different measure. Even though the sorting will be the same as with the sequential ranking, this number is patterned after the old statistic used to measure the power of an earthquake. It was called Richter Scale. So if you compare an earthquake with a magnitude of 1.0 versus an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.0, the second earthquake (2.0) would be 10x as strong as the first earthquake (1.0). So I set the Mourning Dove as a 1.0. I measure every other species as compared to Mourning Dove so that I have a little different way to measure how often a species is reported in eBird. So Northern Parula has a Miller Scale of 2.1 and a Cerulean Warbler has a Miller Scale of 3.1. They have a difference of 1.0. This means that there are 10x more checklists in eBird for Northern Parula than for Cerulean Warbler. I hope you get the idea.

Please note that this is not the same as abundance. A checklist with 1,000 Red-winged Blackbirds is the same as a checklist with 1 Red-winged Blackbird. They both represent 1 checklist. I use this measure simply because it is readily available in eBird and can easily be used on a large scale (as in millions of checklists for the U.S.). The data used for these numbers was retrieved in June of 2015. It uses all months for all years from 1900 through 2014.

So without further adieu, here is the link to Where Are The Warblers Now, 2016 Edition.


Letter To Dad 2013-11-22

Green Jay on arch - Bentsen Rio Grande SP - near McAllen TX - 2012-12-06

Green Jay on arch – Bentsen Rio Grande SP – near McAllen TX – 2012-12-06 photo by Greg Miller

Dear Dad,

A whole lot of people remember JFK on this date.  He was a leader that inspired many people to reach beyond themselves and do great things.  But a few folks will remember you.  Like me, they valued your friendship and respected your character.  And it was you that helped me gain the confidence to believe that I could do anything.  JFK I did not know.  But I did know you.  You were my father, my birding mentor, and my friend.  And for that, I am glad.

I lost you on this day 13 years ago, November 22, 2000. I had just moved back to Columbus, OH and got a job there so I could be closer to you during your final days. Little did I know that those final days would only be 2 weeks. <sigh> Your physical presence here on this planet is sorely missed. Much has happened since then. Continue reading

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 That Time Of Year Again

Yes.  I am talking about my Annual Warbler Song Practice.  I’ve been watching and listening to birds for years.  Still, I make it a spring ritual to play recordings of warblers.  Here in Ohio we have more than 30 species of New World Warblers, many which continue northward to their nesting grounds.  For many birders, hearing these birds only happens for 2-3 weeks out of each spring season.  Without regular exposure, it is easy to forget (or at least get rusty) on this group of birds’ songs and calls.

One of the things I have noticed is just how differently some warblers sound in different geographical areas.  For instance, Black-throated Green Warblers in Eastern North Carolina can sound quite a bit different than they do here in Ohio.  Many species in this family have significant variations. Continue reading