Saturday I took a road trip to Big Falls and the Twomey Williams Forest Road. Wow! What a road! It goes right through the bog.
One of the top 10 birds that birders want to see is the Connecticut Warbler, Oporornis agilis. We are so lucky to have this unique Warbler here in Minnesota. However, the name is completely wrong, these Warblers are extremely rare in Connecticut, they are only migrants in that state. They should really be called Bog Warblers because that is the very specialized habitat where they occur.
West of Big Falls on the Twomey Williams Forest Road, there were several places along the road where Connecticut Warblers could be heard singing from the thick Spruce forest. I have also found Connecticut Warblers on the Echo Trail at Astrid Lake.
This Connecticut Warbler was just getting ready to fly, it shows a good view of their yellow breast and prominent and “complete” eye ring. They have a gray hood and pink legs and their beaks are pink with a dark tip.
As far as Warblers go, the Connecticut Warbler is rather large in comparison to other Wood-Warblers. Connecticut’s are 5.75 inches from tip to tail with a 9 inch wingspan; compare that to the Northern Parula (another Warbler) at only 4.5 inches. The above photo shows their long legs. The Connecticut Warbler is known for walking along the tree branches as opposed to hopping, and they skulk through the underbrush and are very secretive. “Its secretive behavior and preference for breeding habitat in remote areas with abundant insect life has made it very difficult to study.” from The Birds of North America on-line. The Connecticut Warbler winters in northern South America where little is known about their habits. Unfortunately loss of habitat in South America is putting this very special Warbler at great risk, along with a number of other Warbler species that come up to Minnesota in the summer.