Magnolia Warbler

May 28, 2017  •  1 Comment

Spring migration is the best time for us to get out and spot birds we may not see the rest of the year. Some stay hidden in thick cover while they nest and raise their young and others just continue to move North to their long ago established breeding grounds. If you hike out in the woods near water, and food sources with good protective cover this time of year, the bird songs will overwhelm your ears and you just might spot a new bird. Bring binoculars and a field guide. There are many free apps for bird identification that are fun and work very well, so bring your smart phone or tablet. Many apps do not require cell service if you download the reference files onto your device. It's quick and easy...if I did it, so can you.

The Magnolia Warbler is a handsome and familiar warbler of the northern forests. Though it often forages conspicuously and close to the ground, we have relatively scant information on its nesting behavior.

Cool Facts

  • Though it has very specific habitat preferences in the breeding season, the Magnolia Warbler occupies a very broad range of habitats in winter:  from sea level to 1,500 meters elevation, and most landscape types, except cleared fields.
  • The name of the species was coined in 1810 by Alexander Wilson, who collected a specimen from a magnolia tree in Mississippi. He actually used the English name "Black-and-yellow Warbler" and used "magnolia" for the Latin species name, which became the common name over time.
  • The male Magnolia Warbler has two songs. The first song, issued in courtship and around the nest, consists of three short phrases with an accented ending. The second song, possibly issued in territory defense against other males, is similar to the first but is sweeter and less accented.
  • The oldest recorded Magnolia Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 11 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Ontario.



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