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Blackpoll Warblers – Long Distance Migration

Blackpoll Warbler (Male)

At lunch today I got out for about a half hour of birding and saw lots of Blackpoll Warblers.

Sadly, these are some of the last warblers to move through Maine in the spring. They winter in South America and generally migrate north across the Gulf through Florida. From there they move over land to their nesting grounds in Alaska and Northern Canada.

The real interesting part is their fall migration . . . Blackpolls congregate in the Northeast United States and then fly directly, non-stop over water to their wintering grounds . . . as much as 1,900 miles (72-88 hours). Think about this . . . a tiny bird (half a pound) stays aloft for over three continuous days . . . flying over a potentially stormy ocean with no place to land. And Blackpolls have been doing this generation after generation.

A truly remarkable bird!!!

While the Blackpoll Warbler is a sign of the approaching end of the Warbler migration . . . we’re still seeing a wide variety of the little buggers.

Sunday Ingrid and I saw a rare Tennessee Warbler and today there were lots of Wilson’s Warbler mixed in with the Blackpolls.

And the old standbys that will be with us all summer: Yellow, Black-and-White Warblers and Common Yellowthroats.