There were a lot of Magnolia Warblers over at the Vermilion River Gorge Hiking Trail this weekend. They are curious little warblers and they are affectionately also called “Maggies”
This is another example of a poorly named bird. Magnolia Warblers don’t have much to do with Magnolia trees. They might fly into one during their migration, but they don’t have anything to do with Magnolia trees when they are back on their breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canada. I find these birds in dense stands of Balsam trees. I think the perfect name for this bird would be Balsam Warbler.
A bird that arrives back on their breeding grounds a little later is the Alder Flycatcher. I just heard their song today. They are found around wetlands. And an easy way to remember their call is that it sounds like “free beer, free beer”.
Here’s a better shot of the Nashville Warber. Yesterday at the Vermilion River Gorge Hiking Trail, the Nashvilles were down low foraging in the brush along the trail. There were a lot of them as if typical during migration. This particular bird had his chestnut patch showing. The chestnut on top of the head is seldom seen and the bird can control how much he chooses to display.
Another of the Wood-warblers to arrive early is the Nashville Warbler. We have tons of these in the Crane Lake area that arrive here on their breeding grounds to raise their family. I would say the Nashville Warbler is probably the most abundant Warbler here in Voyageur Country.
And the Tennessee Warbler is back on their breeding grounds. What funny names for birds! In my opinion, the Nashville Warbler should be re-named the Minnesota Warbler and the Tennessee should be named something besides Tennessee –
The little jewels of the forest are coming back up north in droves now. Another early migrant is the Pine Warbler.
This morning I heard them calling at Handberg’s Marina. They nest in the Pines on the point at Handberg’s. One of their songs is a trill. It sounds a lot like the Chipping Sparrows that are trilling now too. But the Pine Warbler has a more “musical” trill. Okay, I understand that a trill can hardly be musical, but if you listen carefully and often, you can tell the difference between the two trills.
Another good place to find Pine Warblers are in the Pines at the Vermilion Gorge. And a really great place is up on the islands on the big lakes in Voyageurs National Park. You may think they’re insects buzzing sometimes, but sit back and watch for movement in the Pines and you will most likely spot a Pine Warbler.
In my opinion, this is one of the few birds that are actually named for their habitat and it makes sense.
The Black & White Warbler makes an early come back. I have a friend that affectionately calls this bird the “Zebra Bird”, I like that!
They were previously called a Black and White Creeper because of their behavior. They act more like a Nuthatch or a Brown Creeper in the way that they forage. They will creep along branches sometimes hanging upside down as they look for insects and their larvae.