Ohhhhh Canada, Viva Virginia…This is Florida calling!

Palm warbler (Collage by One Sky Our Birds)

Palm warbler (Collage by One Sky Our Birds)

April 11, 2016 | by Andy Wraithmell | 0 Comments

I have some exciting news from Florida: I am starting to see flocks of wood-warblers in our coastal hammocks on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. They have just completed an epic journey from the tropics, where they spent the winter months, and are feeding voraciously on insects and fruit, borne by the native trees in our coastal hammocks and forests. Florida bird watchers like myself will be reveling in the beauty of these tiny birds, perhaps the most popular family of species in North America.

Coastal habitat is critical for these species, as it is the first habitat these tired, hungry birds reach after crossing the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. While in Florida, they will build up their energy levels so they can complete the next leg of their incredible migration to the northern forests of Canada, where they will nest and raise their young.

Some of the wood-warblers migrating to Canada through Florida return to the same areas year after year. Banding studies show species like black-throated blue warblers, palm warblers and ovenbirds visit Cape Florida on Key Biscayne for several successive years. One particular ovenbird has returned to Key Biscayne from its northern breeding grounds for seven straight years! In spring and fall, Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne is a vitally important stopover site for songbirds such as the palm warbler.

The Atlantic Flyway. <b>Click to enlarge</b> (Graphic by NCC)

The Atlantic Flyway. Click to enlarge. (Graphic by NCC)

Palm warblers winter in South Florida, the Caribbean and South America. In April, they migrate north to raise their families in the forests of Canada and New England. Once nesting is complete, they head south again, arriving at their winter homes between September and November. This incredible journey can be more than 4,000 miles long and takes several weeks to complete!

To enjoy these remarkable little birds during migration, visit the following Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail sites:

What you can do to help our migratory birds

There are many different ways in which you can help birds complete their amazing migration:

Keep scanning the trees — the palm warbler is heading north! One Sky Our Birds!

This blog is reposted with permission from One Sky Our Bird's blog.

About the Author

Andy Wraithmell is the information specialist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Read more about Andy Wraithmell.

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