Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Warbler Neck and Fall Songbird Migration

Northern parula warbler in Mimosa tree on 9/ 17/16
The fall season is a favorite for many folks in the Lowcountry for reasons like football season, shrimp-baiting season and the cooler weather. For birdwatchers the fall migration can provide another grand reason to appreciate this shoulder season between Labor Day and Halloween. Colorful birds like the hooded warbler may suddenly appear, and join in with more common sighting like the Carolina wren.

If you think that warblers are small birds that tend to look alike, you are not alone. But for birders the fun is trying to notice just one tidbit of detail that can help you find the correct ID, such as yellow colors on the back or on the underside. Another difficulty is that warblers tend to stay high up in the tree canopy, making binoculars a must, but also putting a strain on one’s neck muscles to a point that birders can complain of ‘warbler neck’ pain.

As tough as it is to see small birds flitting about in the trees without having any idea of what they are, before they fly off and disappear, it’s a boon to see or hear a songbird and then diagnose which one it is. During migration time, these songbirds might travel through hardwood corridors, and along field edges and even in backyards in search of water to drink and other bird life. In fact, I can share that something as basic as a birdbath can be a powerful attractor for migrating birds.

To view this feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about migration click Fall 2015 - Spring 2014 -  Spring 2013 

To view blog entries on past birding trips click on 2010 ACE Basin - 2014 Edisto Island - 2013 Grosse Savanne - 2015 Little St. Simon's Island

To view the latest Birding Journal Observations click July / August 2016

To view past blog entries about encounters with the natural world click on Hummingbird MothAmerican Oystercatcher Bats - Snakes - Honey Bees - Wood Storks

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