May = Warblers

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.

This Magnolia Warbler is looking for its next meal of insects. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 2x teleconverter @ 800 mm, ISO 2000, f/11, 1/250. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved, 2018, Carroll County park near Lanesboro, IA.

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.

American Redstarts will even scare up insects and then catch them in flight. Canon 1D Mark IV + 500mm lens, ISO 400, f5.0, 1/400 ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved, 2014, Ledges State Park near Boone, IA

Chestnut-sided Warblers typically feed on insects on the under sides of leaves. Insects make up more than 90% of their diet.

This Chestnut-sided Warbler is foraging through the canopy of newer growth trees. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560 mm, ISO 1250, f/8, 1/250. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved, Carroll County park near Lanesboro, IA.

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.

Northern Waterthrushes forage in wetlands. Sony a9 + 100-400mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 560 mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/1600. ©Stanley Buman. All Rights Reserved, Swan Lake State Park, Carroll, IA.

12 thoughts on “May = Warblers”

  1. Stan, anyone that has tried to identify warblers knows who flighty they are. The do not stick around very long. I can imagine how many hours you spent getting these great photos. Nice job.

    1. Thank you Thomas. It is even more challenging here in West-central Iowa where there is not a great number of warblers. Some day, I hope to photograph warblers in one of the hot spots of the North America; where you have to figure out which direction to point your camera first.

  2. I love warblers…I think I may have seen some in the woods where I walk..they move very fast if I am looking at the right bird. We have had owls nesting, mallards walking by my patio, geese and their babies walking by…way too many Canada geese..When I walk to the pond, amazingly big toads, the edge of the water is black with tadpoles. I have seen painted turtles sunning themselves on rocks..and the pond is stocked by the DNR. Fishing allowed with a license. Hope you are well..these are trying times so I am blessed to have the trail close to me so I can escape.

    1. Sue, I am glad you live in a neighborhood where you can walk out your door and be immersed with wildlife. Living without wildlife would be depressing.

  3. Carol Gronstal

    Beautiful. It would be nice if they’d sit still for just a bit, wouldn’t it? You caught them perfectly.

  4. Scott Buchanan

    Hi Stan,
    Love the warbler shots, California gets our very stray warblers often beyond hard to track down.
    Well, I will be arriving in Harlan Iowa in late June. Lots of project around the farm but I am hoping to get out birding. Prairie Rose just down the road! I would love to connect with you for a joint photo trip in July.

    1. Scott, I am missing the weather that is common at Point Reyes National Seashore. It has been in the low to mid 90’s here the last couple of days. I dislike heat and humidity. I am already looking forward to Fall and Winter.

      Please give me a call when you are back in Iowa. I can show you a few spots to bird/photograph. Let me know if you do not have my phone number.

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