Image of the Day: Blackpoll Warbler

 By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator
The month of May is known for the bounty of beautiful songbirds that pass through on spring migration, showing off bold breeding colors and singing seductive songs.  We may only see these birds for a short time before they move on north to their nesting grounds.  You are invited to meet one of these special birds now…
A male Blackpoll Warbler perches in a Dawn Redwood at Middle Run, showing of his yellow feet and legs. Image by Derek Stoner May 19, 2011.

The Blackpoll Warbler is a small songbird that is named for its black cap (poll means “head”) . The song of the male Blackpoll Warbler is a series of several high-pitched notes that is reminiscent of a squeaky bicycle wheel. Since this warbler spends much of it time high in the canopy of evergreens (where it feeds on caterpillars), often its presence is revealed by hearing its song first.

After breeding in the boreal forest of northern Canada,  Blackpoll Warblers will then pass through the East Coast in early fall and load up on food in order to double their body weight.  In one daunting flight, they take off over the Atlantic Ocean, head south over the Caribbean Sea, and land up to 90 hours and more than 1,000 miles later in northern South America!

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