This Season: 29 warblers

Beloved birders! This changing of the seasons is a bit emotional for me. You see, I get so invested in Spring and then poof, it’s gone. Perhaps not quite that suddenly, but it really does feel altogether too quick, these 31 days of May. A quick recap of the season, which has been my most productive yet. (Although, I should note that right when I thought my birdsong recognition was improving, I had an embarrassing moment wherein I confused the Cardinal’s song for the Ovenbird’s. And of course I still think that everybody is singing “drink your tea”, not just the Eastern Towhee… more on mnemonics later… and I seem to hear “whitchety whichety whichety” even when the bird is saying something else altogether. Humbling, as always.)

This season yielded 29 warblers and, perhaps even more notably, a warbler dream! On Friday night, I dreamt I was teaching my husband how to distinguish the Blue winged warbler song from the Golden-winged warbler’s: bee-buzz vs. (a trilled) brrrr bzz bzz bzz! And I got the song right in my dream. I don’t remember my husband’s reaction to such technical bird-talk, but I woke up completely startled by my birdy prowess. This hobby that I thought would be so temporary is now weaving its way into my subconscious! This elevates Spring Migration to a whole new order of magnitude.

The highlights? A Hooded warbler peeking out of the foliage in Backus Woods (Long Point area), a Canada Warbler (misidentified as a Hooded by yours truly, but such is life) fluttering about in Rondeau, an Indigo Bunting singing his heart out at eye level at Carden Alvar, a Cerulean warbler frenetically jumping from branch to branch at eye level (Long Point), a Scarlet Tanager adorning a tree — almost like a Christmas ornament, a Prairie warbler demonstrating the full range of his crescendo on the ascent of his staccato song at Carden Alvar, Black-throated blue warblers showing off the elegance of their inimitable metallic blue coloring, Black-throated green warblers greeting me unexpectedly, countless American Redstarts — decked out in Halloween colors, and, the piece de resistance, a Yellow-headed Blackbird screeching his cacophonous song at daybreak.

We ended the season yesterday with a Mourning warbler sighting, which brought me to a grand total of 29 warbler species for the month of May. Of those, I managed to learn four songs. But it’s better than last spring, when I managed to learn one (!) song! It doesn’t come easy, this birding business, but it delights me more than I ever imagined.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *