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Spring Migration (Part 2)

Posted by Rutabaga Staff on 5/6/2013 to Nature & Photography

Over the next 2 weeks a rather short window of opportunity passes all of us here in Wisconsin. Many millions of songbirds fly through our backyards and natural areas. Most of these migrants are members of the same family.

Wood Warblers

These are the crown jewels of all the birding world. Their vibrant energy and spectacular colors arrive around May 1st and usually ends around the 25th of May as they continue their migration northward to their summer breeding grounds. Many species within this family nest in the northern portions of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota as well as the southern provinces of Canada.

The activity over the past few days has increased dramatically as the warmer weather brought on by light southerly winds and sunshine bring them north. Yesterday during a foray to Picnic Point yielded many new species including Magnolia, Blackpoll, Black throated Green, Black throated Blue, Northern Parula, and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Northern waterthrush, Northern Oriole (a.k.a. Baltimore Oriole), Blue headed, White-eyed, and Yellow-throated Vireos. It’s a VERY exciting time to be in the woods with your binoculars and bird book.

Here are some of the bird families and species to be on the look out for as you walk the dog, or take your kids to the park: Warblers (30 different species possible), Vireos (6 different species possible), Thrushes (5 different species possible), Indigo buntings, Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanager, Flycathcers, Kinglets, Sparrows (White-crowned and White-throated).

If you live in the Madison area and would like to participate in a local birding walk please check the Madison Audubon website at for the complete list of field trips for the month of May. Walks are scheduled starting at 6:00 AM every Tuesday and Thursday morning until May 14th in the University Arboretum. Please call 608-255-2473 for more details.

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