My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

BBBO Warblers!

Magnolia Warbler

So many photos of our amazing banding day at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory . . . . I just had to split the pictures into 3 different post!! The first post is about warblers. I figured that I would look up “Warbler” in Wikipedia and they state “They are mostly brownish or dull greenish in color, of small size, easier seen than heard, and harder to determine to species. To Old World birders, “warblers” are the the archetypal “LBJ” (“little brown job”).” Must have been a non birder who wrote that . . . . warblers are easy to identify when looking at all their fieldmarks!!!

blackpoll warbler
Blackpoll Warbler

Before banding we always have a habit of guessing what bird species might be caught! You can probably expect the expected guesses like “Yellow-breasted Chat” or “Black-and-white Warbler” . . . . then we give those reasonable guesses!! The Blackpoll, Bay-breasted Warbler and Pine Warbler were some of those reasonable guesses that we discussed. Then we would talk about some of their field marks that we would need to look at for identification. Of course we hadn’t been at the banding station for a half hour before one of those confusing “LBJ’s” showed up. Hmm, this little birdy is yellowish/brown, has wingbars . . . . and look yellow feet . . . . must be a Blackpoll Warbler!! (Lifer for Young Naturalist J)!!

Yellow-rumped warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Other great warblers being banded included the Yellow-rumped Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. They are common to us but still fun to see again (and could be our last time seeing them this year). I was very amazed at the number of Magnolia Warblers that they caught.

Common  Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

We would always volunteer to release the birds after the banders were done processing them. This would give us an opportunity to look for molt limits and to age the birds. Sometimes we never knew what birds were being banded and they would bring us surprises like our “American Redstart”!! I must admit that for as many Redstarts that I have banded . . . . this was a very stunning bird!

American Redstart
American Redstart

We also took any opportunity to walk around with the BBBO Volunteers to check their 70ish nets that were placed around the station. What is fun about extracting the birds from the mist-nets is that you never know what you are going to find! Young Naturalist J looks up at the net and says “Black-and-white Warbler”! Goof not only got another lifer but also had the opportunity to take it out of the net!!

black-and-white warbler
Black-and-white Warbler

Then you get to the point where you begin to wonder what other amazing bird could be caught!! We had done a net check and what did we find . . . . an adult male Black-throated Blue Warbler! Oooo this was such an amazing bird and we were (ok, I was) very disappointed that they release it before I could get a picture of it. But, the crew did do good after they caught a female BTBW and we (ok I) didn’t allow them to release it before capturing her picture.

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler

I can admit that these little birds can be confusing but LBJ’s will always be considered Sparrows to me (not warblers)! On a side note, those that noticed the funny feather thing being seen around the warblers head . . . . the banders wet their head so that they can look at the birds skull through the skin. This allows those banders to help with aging the bird where they look to see if the skull has not fully developed yet (then it’s a hatch year bird).

28 responses

  1. Love these warblers, they are so beautiful! thanks Mon@rch!

    25 September 2007 at 11:16 pm

  2. As a non -bander, I wonder why you and naturalist J wear special(?) glasses ( previous post). To protect against what ?? Or is it just to see better ??

    Your pictures certainly help to better understand what is so confusing about confusing fall warblers. Wonderful lessons for us all. Thank you !!

    25 September 2007 at 11:42 pm

  3. @ Barb – thanks!
    @ Cestoady – we don’t wear them and one of the other banders had them to help improve her vision with the small numbers on the bands! They were a zillion power which made out eyes look very large! You probably have to know us to understand the pictures . . . . we are just goofy people that find crazy things like that funny! BTW: you were right with the pictures of the thrushs!

    25 September 2007 at 11:57 pm

  4. It’s nice to see warblers up close. We have tons of warblers in the bushes at Presque Isle in the summer. They fly so fast between bushes I only get glimpses of olive and/or yellow. I’d like to try and identify what kind they are next spring and summer. Your pictures are wonderful as usual!

    26 September 2007 at 12:51 am

  5. These birds are so unique, and so beautiful. Are they a member of the Goldfinch family? But they some of them do look like the sparrow family. ~nita~

    26 September 2007 at 7:55 am

  6. Now we are getting a warbler education! I have no experience with them and I’m very impressed with the sweet expressions on their faces. They are absolute beauties.

    26 September 2007 at 8:45 am

  7. I believe someone is banding birds @ Presque Isle right now and will have to get Linda (Erie’s Argonaut) to go out with me. Will let you know.
    I love these kind of posts from you. I learn so much and I really appreciate it. As an artist I love seeing the birds so up close through your photos. Awesome

    26 September 2007 at 8:47 am

  8. These closeups of warblers make them look like they are massive in size!! Always fun to watch!!

    26 September 2007 at 9:12 am

  9. Nice photos. Terrific detail. The detail on the birds is really cool. Thanks for sharing!


    26 September 2007 at 10:39 am

  10. Marg

    SEVENTY-did you say 70? OMG!

    I mean-oh congrats J on the Blackpoll and the B/W I just love B/W not the least of which reason is they are so easy to identify ;D (and that is a lovely photo of one as well-off to fave on Flickr)

    Looking forward to the 3rd post of BBBO

    26 September 2007 at 11:13 am

  11. Thanks for the clarification. I guess what confused me was that you called them “Banding Glasses”, that suggested something banders would routinely use while handling birds. My mistake.

    26 September 2007 at 11:18 am

  12. Monarch once again your photos just knock my socks off! So with cold feet and a good amount of healthy envy I must say to add all the info on id’ing how can a blog get any better than this? Nice work!

    26 September 2007 at 1:32 pm

  13. gardenqueen

    I just love your photos. Beautiful and informative.

    26 September 2007 at 1:37 pm

  14. Great photos! I love the detail in the feathers and the patches of yellow in the American Redstart!

    26 September 2007 at 2:32 pm

  15. I’m sorry, I forgot to ask: When you are banding, do the birds peck at your hands? If not, why not?

    26 September 2007 at 2:44 pm

  16. @ Erie – I actually go to Presque Isle in the spring to see the warblers!
    @ Nita – These are all Warblers!
    @ Mary – thanks and beauties for sure!
    @ toni – Yes they are and a new person! Glad you enjoy these!
    @ Birdfreak – they are massive in size compared to the kinglets!
    @ 47 – thanks for visiting and commenting!
    @ Marg – Yes, they have a ton of mist-nets! Takes a team to run the place!
    @ Cestoady – LOL never seen them before but would be very helpful while banding!
    @ aullori – thanks for your kind words and many others have some great sites! You should check out my blog roll!
    @ Gardenqueen – thanks!
    @ Chicago – That was a great Redstart! Also, they do peck my hands and sent you an email with a link to picture of a woodpecker hitting me! You might not have been a contact at the time I posted it.

    26 September 2007 at 4:35 pm

  17. Those warblers are truly beautiful. I am blown away by the number of different species that you have coming through your neck of the woods. We had a few warblers in late spring (A Wilson’s and maybe a Yellow). Just yesterday when the Robins and Cedar Waxwings descended on our little pond to bathe and generally raise a ruckus, I noticed a lone little bird skittering along the edge. I ran for the binoculars and for a moment saw what looked like a beautiful and brilliantly colored Townsend Warbler. That distinctive yellow eyebrow was spectacular.

    26 September 2007 at 5:40 pm

  18. I think Wikipedia’s “LBJ” comment was mostly aimed at the Sylviidae (and related families) rather than Parulidae. It fits Sylviids a bit better, anyway.

    Lovely photos.

    26 September 2007 at 6:26 pm

  19. Great post! Love seeing the warblers up close.

    “I figured that I would look up “Warbler” in Wikipedia and they state “They are mostly brownish or dull greenish in color, of small size, easier seen than heard, and harder to determine to species. To Old World birders, “warblers” are the the archetypal “LBJ” (”little brown job”).” Must have been a non birder who wrote that . . . . warblers are easy to identify when looking at all their fieldmarks!!!”

    Ah, you are mistaken here… no one would call our north american wood-warblers (Parulids) LBJs. The key phrase is “Old World birders” talking about old world warblers – things like the genera Phylloscopus, Acrocephalus, Sylvia, etc… formerly called Sylviid warblers, although they’ve recently been studied and broken up into many unrelated groups (all completely unrelated to our Parulids)… but I digress.

    Check out these comparisons:
    Willow Warbler and Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus)

    Sedge Warbler and Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus)

    You see… they are the eurasian version of Empidonax flycatchers…


    26 September 2007 at 6:30 pm

  20. Wow, Tom, what great photos of some really cool birds! You and J rock!! Glad you guys had such a great time!

    26 September 2007 at 7:18 pm

  21. I’d have a tough time identifying the btbw unless I had 10 minutes to look at it.That Redstart does have a beautiful tail!

    26 September 2007 at 7:18 pm

  22. Great job Mon@rch and Naturalist J! Every time I visit your blog, Mon@rch, I am never disappointed. From your photos I hope I am visually retaining these beautiful birds, so I will be able to ID a few of them some day if I should see or hear any of them.

    26 September 2007 at 9:06 pm

  23. @ Robin – thanks and we do have great warblers here! Now the Townsend Warbler would be a lifer for me!
    @ John – I agree but it’s the point they are pushing as LBJ’s!
    @ Nick – I understand the difference between the Parulidae species being non Old World Warblers (reason I included their statement in my post)!! But, what I am saying is that I will always consider LBJ’s to be Sparrows and not Warblers (whatever family they are located in). But I do agree after the fact that I probably should have looked up Wood-Warblers in Wikipedia instead of just warblers. That’s my bad!
    @ Pam – thanks and we did have fun!
    @ Larry – they are easy to identify and just look at the wing spot in the wing!
    @ Mary – thanks and glad to keep you happy with these post! Thanks for always visiting!

    26 September 2007 at 9:36 pm

  24. Wonderful subjects and images Tom, great work.

    26 September 2007 at 11:11 pm

  25. I just discovering your blog and I’m always happy to “meet” somebody who like that I like (excuse my “english”, I’m french!!!)
    Your photos are beautifuls and I will come soon on your blog
    à bientôt

    27 September 2007 at 4:25 am

  26. Holy cow! Warbler mania! I’ve never seen so many species of warblers! What a day.

    27 September 2007 at 5:21 pm

  27. @ Bernie – thanks for your support!!
    @ Mireille – Thanks so very much for your kind words and wecome!! Hope you are able to return again soon.
    @ jayne – thanks and it is wonderful to see so many.

    27 September 2007 at 8:33 pm

  28. Another great set of pictures – I’m hoping to go out warbler hunting tomorrow morning … hopefully, the conditions will be right and I’m not too late!

    28 September 2007 at 9:27 am

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