I had another warbler day down here in southern Ohio. I felt like either I’m starting to become more attuned to the warblers or else I’m got pretty lucky. One of the keys with warblers is to use your ears. With large birds, you often find them just by looking in the right places. This is a recipe for disaster with warblers. They are small, move constantly, and are usually in dense foliage. Your best strategy is to listen carefully for the singing males. Boy were they singing today! This Cerulean Warbler was one of the proud singers. Sadly, Cerulean Warblers are declining the fastest of any neotropical migrant. Their numbers now are only 20% of what they were in the 1970s. A large part of this decline is thought to be due to high-yield coffee farming in their wintering habitat in South America. If you are interested in the conversation of this beautiful bird, I strongly urge you to look into the differences between shade-grown and high-yield coffee farming practices (shade-grown coffee farms provide great habitat for these birds).
Today was raining mostly all day. When it let up briefly, it was as cloudy as can be. In the forest understory, the trees do a great job of keeping things dry. Often the bird gets the cover and you are standing out in the open to capture the photo. But dreary rainy days make for fantastic photography. The light is soft and even, which is often a problem in the understory. The birds also tend to be more active and active for longer on such days. In addition to the Cerulean Warbler above, I had a great time with another Blue-winged Warbler and then ran into this Worm-eating Warbler. We don’t get Worm-eating Warblers in Michigan – southern Ohio is their northern limit. They are such great fun though – full of energy and zipping all over the place. Their buzzing call matches their frenetic pace. I still have a lot of work to do to get the compositions I would like with these difficult birds, but I can feel some of the pieces starting to fall into place. All in all, for just a day and a half, it was a fantastic time with the warblers.