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2014 Spring Issue 5 (May 9, 2014)


May 9, 2014
By Emily Buckner

You know that spring has finally arrived when colorful warblers can be seen flitting through the trees of the Arb. The spring bird migration is one of the more amazing feats of endurance that occurs in nature. About 40 species of birds that are considered Minnesota birds actually spend half of the year in Mexico, Central or South America and travel several thousands of miles twice a year to reach their summer (and breeding) and winter grounds.

This influx of birds usually occurs at the end of April and beginning of May. However due to meticulous data collection that has occurred every year for decades, scientists have discovered that these birds are beginning to arrive earlier and earlier and have moved their ranges farther north, another impact of increasing global temperatures and climate change.

Warblers are a particularly distinctive family of migratory birds. Eating primarily insects, warblers are perhaps the most colorful of all the songbirds, often sporting patches of red or yellow, black, white or even blue stripes. They are mostly seen in the understory of forests, darting from one bush to another, either alone or sometimes in small groups of the same or multiple species.

If you are looking for a good 6th weekend study break, think about taking a walk along the lower arboretum river trail and keeping your ears and eyes pricked for the calls or flashes of color of these warblers in the undergrowth. Additionally, if you are interested in learning more about these amazing birds and where to find them, come to the Annual Arboretum Bird Count on Saturday, May 17th, starting at the Arb Office at 6am.

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