Connecticut Audbon Society


Daily Bird: Wood Warblers — Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler
Setophaga magnolia

by Milan Bull, Senior Director of Science and Conservation
Videos and photos by Gilles Carter, a member of Connecticut Audubon’s Board of Directors

May 10, 2021 — The first time I really noticed a warbler was in my backyard in Milford when I was 10 years old with my dad’s binoculars. It was a Magnolia Warbler in a Flowering Dogwood at about eye level.

For a 10 year old it seemed impossibly beautiful and I had no trouble looking it up in my field guide.

The Magnolia Warbler is certainly one of the most beautiful and sought after migrants by birders throughout the state.

Although during a good migration year it can be found in many habitat types it prefers flowering hardwoods, particularly oaks where it can be seen foraging among the flowers for tiny insects and caterpillars.

You’re likely to see and hear Magnolia Warblers during Connecticut Audubon’s 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon, which is set for this weekend, May 14-16. All skill levels are welcome. Go birding at your favorite locations, and you can participate for the whole weekend or just for a day or two.

 Don't miss the fun! Sign up for the 2021 Migration Madness Birdathon here!

This striking little songbird with its bright yellow throat, blue gray crown, black striped yellow under parts often stands out among other warblers foraging nearby. It‘s dark wings with two white bars are also distinctive.

Look for Maggies during peak migration periods throughout May. The Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve in Westport with it’s diverse hardwood habitats is a particularly good spot to look for them.

Magnolia Warbler photos by Gilles Carter.

They breed in conifers across the Canadian boreal forest and higher elevations in the North East US and winter in a relatively small region on the Caribbean slope of North Central America.

Maggies seem tolerant of disturbance on both the breeding ground and their wintering ground and their populations have been stable since about 1970.






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