Birder’s Notebook by Bob Andrini; 10 October Entry. Every year in the fall we go out to see if we can find/identify birds as they migrate through our area of Illinois. One of the groups of birds that causes much anxiety are the ‘confusing fall warblers’ (a term coined by Roger Tory Petersen).
These birds migrate in the spring on their way to the breeding grounds to the north, and then in the fall return on their way south. The fall problem is that they have changed their plumage. In the spring they are trying to attract mates, and on their return trip all they want to do is go south and be unnoticed (especially by birds of prey). An added feature in the spring is that they will be giving their characteristic songs, not so in the fall – many are quiet. Some warblers don’t change a great deal (just get duller) but some change dramatically – as in the cases below.
No matter where you live, get out and see some of these ‘confusing fall warblers’.
Pictured below left to right: Yellow-rumped warbler spring, yellow-rumped warbler fall, blackpoll warbler spring, blackpoll warbler fall.