You might want to start paying attention to all those LBB’s that are flitting around the trees in your area. As some of you may know, LBB stands for “little brown birds.” If you look closely, they are not all LBB’s.
With the exception of chickadees and nuthatches, we often dismiss the little birds flitting around the trees and shrubs near our homes as sparrows. But if you pay closer attention to those birds this time of year you will soon realize that many of them are wood warblers, and wood warblers are known for their bright and interesting colors. The wood warblers usually show up in our area in May, however, with the mild winter and spring, they may show up earlier than usual this year.
Wood warblers are typically a bit smaller than the sparrows we are used to seeing. The warbler I most frequently see in the spring is the yellow-rumped warbler, or what some of you may know as a Myrtle warbler. It is bluish-gray with a bright yellow patch on the top of the head, on the wings, and as the name implies, on the rump.
It is now, before the trees leaf out, that they are most easily observed. Some of the warblers are migrating through our area; however some species will stay the summer, but they will be much more difficult to observe when the trees and shrubs become fully leafed-out.
Bird checklists, by season, have been constructed for North Dakota and several areas of the state, mostly national wildlife refuges. These lists are accessible online in the website of Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center. I have put a link to the checklists with the script of this Natural North Dakota. You can access it at www.prairirepublic.org. Over thirty wood warblers are listed for the state during spring. You are not likely to see all of them (some are uncommon or rare), but there are still several species that you should be able to observe.
Warbler species listed as common or abundant on the state list are the Tennessee warbler, orange-crowned warbler, yellow warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, blackpoll warbler, American redstart, and the common yellowthroat. Some of these species even nest in North Dakota and are listed as common during the summer.
The warblers can provide some interesting and entertaining birding, maybe during April this year, but certainly the month of May. So before the trees leaf out, take some time to grab you bird guide and binoculars, find a comfortable place to relax, and enjoy the warblers this spring!
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
Click here to see the Bird Checklists for North Dakota
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