The Daily Bird/Warbler Week: Cerulean Warbler
The 3rd annual Migration Madness Birdathon is set for May 22, 23 and 24. To register and learn more, click here.
Edited and revised slightly from an earlier version
by Kathleen Van Der Aue, Chair of the Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors
In May we birders celebrate the return of the warblers, “the butterflies of the bird world.”
Connecticut is in the nesting range of the rare and beautiful Cerulean Warbler, and May is the best time to see it as it often stays high in the canopy, difficult to see once the trees leaf out.
Prepare yourself ahead of time by familiarizing yourself with the bird’s buzzy song (but don’t play it in the field as this is very disruptive for the birds).
The Cerulean Warbler has suffered the worst decline of all the warblers, down 70 percent since 1966. Much of the problem stems from deforestation in its South American winter habitat but recent conservation efforts give us hope that we may continue to see this lovely little bird for years to come.
Three conservation groups, led by the American Bird Conservancy, worked 10 years to secure and reforest 3,000 acres with native plants in order to connect two isolated patches of existing habitat. Private landowners joined in, planting native shade trees on land previously cleared for ranching and agriculture, especially on coffee plantations.
One way we can help is to buy shade grown coffee, especially that which has achieved “Bird Friendly” certification by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
Look for it during migration. During nesting season in Connecticut there are concentrations in the northwest, northeast, and near Lyme (check eBird.org). The male is blue as the sky — back, neckband, and side streaks; look also for a pair of white wing bars and darker streaks on the back. Look for bluish-green above, a bit of yellow below, and white eyebrow on the female.
Photo by Chris Livingston, Carolinabirds.org.