May is warbler Month in Iowa. Many warblers move through Iowa on their migration route. Yet, not all parts of Iowa see an equal number of birds. Iowa is a transition state. Prior to settlement, the eastern side had a predominance of forestland and the western side was predominantly grassland. Since many warblers utilize trees, a greater concentration moves through the eastern side of the state. Growing up, I sometimes wished I lived along the Mississippi River.
We do get a trickle of warblers moving through our river systems and farm woodlots in west-central Iowa. And some warblers use prairie and wetland habitats too.
Warblers generally have a beautiful plumage. Below are images showcasing a few examples.
The Magnolia Warbler breeds in the northern boreal forests but uses many types of trees during migration. Fortunately, it forages lower in the tree canopy, offering better views.
While many warblers seem to be in perpetual motion while feeding, the American Redstart takes this to a new level. They never seem to stop.
Chestnut-sided Warblers typically feed on insects on the under sides of leaves. Insects make up more than 90% of their diet.
The Northern Waterthrush is a warbler that is not found where you would expect. Instead of looking up into trees, look down at the water’s edge where wetlands meet brushy habitat. Also, note that it is not as colorful as many of our other warblers.