Connecticut Audbon Society

Spring migratory birds: Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler
Setophaga magnolia

by Milan Bull, Senior Director of Science and Conservation
Videos and photos by Gilles Carter

May 3, 2022 — 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.

This striking little songbird — with its bright yellow throat, blue gray crown, black striped yellow underparts — 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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