Friday, May 27, 2011

Blackpoll Warbler; May Migration through Northern Illinois

A female Blackpoll Warbler, Colored Sands Forest Preserve, Shirland, IL; 5/15/2011.
On May 15, 2011,  I checked out "Bird Fest" at the Colored Sands Bird banding station in the forest preserve of the same name. This Festival has been going on for several years, but being a novice / rookie birder, I never really paid attention to it before this year, so this is the first time I attended and it was very worthwhile. I was able to tag along while one of the volunteers hiked down to one of their many bird nets put up in the variety of habitat in this preserve. In a 20 or 30 yard stretch of netting, we found 4 different birds caught in the nets: a flycatcher that no one could identify, a Blackpoll Warbler, a Magnolia Warbler, and a Common Yellowthroat. It was very interesting process how the birds get caught in the nets and then how they are taken out, bagged, banded and released.  When the male Blackpoll Warbler was caught (Below), this was the first time I have ever seen (or at least identified) this type of warbler, but since I didn't see it "free" in the wild, I didn't think I could count it on my Life List.  But as it happens later while I was hiking on one of the preserve's trails, I did get a picture of a female Blackpoll Warbler (Above). So this became #291 on my Life List - my 20th new bird of 2011.
The male Blackpoll Warbler caught in one of the bird nets of the
Colored Sands Bird Banding Station, Shirland, IL; 5/15/2011.
Blackpoll Warblers like the cooler climates of mountain tops near the treeline. As a result, they spend their summers in Northern Canada from coast to coast as well as in Alaska. I was happy to finally see one in our area before they migrated north. They have quite a long migration as they spend their winter months in the northern countries of South America.

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