Friday, May 23, 2014

10 Reasons Why Warblers Are Overrated

I recently found some yellowlegs feeding in a puddle at the fairgrounds and remembered my enthusiasm at seeing one for the first time years ago. I was new to birding at the time and some of the veteran birders who were there assured me that if I was impressed with a yellowlegs I would surely be ecstatic when if I was able to see some warblers. I was reminded about how great warblers are during my first year of birding. 

When I finally started getting my first look at some warblers I thought they were great! Then I soon realized that all the new species I had seen along the way were just as great. My expectations of warblers had been built up so high that the reality of seeing them couldn't possibly compete.

10 reasons why warblers (and warbler watching) are overrated:
1:They're too small: Most other species like this Northern Flicker are larger making them easier to see.
2: Many warblers spend too much time up high in the trees: I find it unpleasant to be looking high up in leafy trees for birds. It can be tiring and uncomfortable which leas me to number 3.
3: Warbler neck: I was so eager to find warblers the first couple of years that I developed what they call warbler neck from looking upwards to much. My hands were tingling from pinched nerves for a few weeks at one point.
4: They move around too much: It's difficult enough to look high up into leafy trees for these tiny birds but then they don't have the decency to stay still.The nerve of them!
5: Warblers difficult to point out to other birders, especially new ones: "It's over there in the top of the deciduous tree behind the dead branch at 1 o'clock! No now it moved to the cedar 2 feet from the top on the left side! Oh forget it-it's flown way back into the woods." You'll hear lots of these types of conversations while warbler watching with a group and it can be especially frustrating for new birders.
 6:They're not the only species that have colorful markings: It is true that some warblers have some really eye-catching markings but the same can be said of many other bird species. Even a grackle shows of some nice color if you catch one in the sun. "Do you see it?  That foot long bird standing still in a puddle blowing a bubble."
So much easier to find!

7:You tend to overlook things when you are trying to track down warblers: There's a lot going during the Spring but you tend to miss some of what's around you when your trying to track down warblers. I once accidentally stepped on a snake when I was searching for a BT-Blue Warbler!
8: Warblers think they're better than the other birds: I can't prove this. It's just an inkling I have. They come across a little bit cocky when warblers like this Common Yellowthroat are belting out a song from the top of a tree branch.
9:There are other species that sing better than warblers: For example, I prefer the flute-like song of a Wood Thrush to any warbler song.
10: I have a hard time photographing them: If I had captured some nice warbler photos this Spring I might not have written this post!

Seriously, I look forward to the return of warblers each Spring and especially love it when I get a great view of something like the  stunning Blackburnian Warbler. All I'm saying is let's not forget all the other great birds out there!


Ruth said...

I hear you! My sentiments exactly.

Michelle said...

I do like seeing those yellow legs :)

Cathy said...

Larry! This is hilarious. Even if your tongue is firmly in cheek :) I'm sure we all agree on various points. As I've aged . . the 'neck' thing is becoming a real issue.

Larry said...

Cathy- Obviously I'm exaggerating a little bit but some of these points do hold true for me.

warriormom said...

Thanks for the chuckle, Larry, while I "amen-ed" for most of them. They are so darn flitty...or flighty... I had a male Catbird who out sang everybody this spring!!! Beautiful and varied but non-stop all day long for almost the entire month of May!!!