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May 4, 2013 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Palm Warbler

Warblers are small, colorful, migratory birds that are very challenging to find much less photograph. They never stay still and are constantly flitting from branch to branch and hiding behind leaves. Most of them are only seen in the Midwestern US for a couple of weeks in the spring and again during autumn migration. Last week the early migrants began to show up in the nature areas and forest preserves.

This is a Palm Warbler. They are one of the first to arrive at their breeding grounds in Canada and the far Northeastern US. They usually show up in the Chicago area around the last week of April.

Palm Warbler

Most warblers are insect eaters so they don’t arrive here until the trees begin to leaf out and the bugs and caterpillars appear. The Palm Warbler tends to forage on the ground and on lower branches more than most warblers. This makes it a lot easier to get a photo.

Palm Warbler

As you can see from the range map, this is a bird that is rarely seen in most of the interior of the US, passing through for only a few weeks during migration.

Palm Warbler Range Map from 'Birds of North America'

Palm Warbler Range Map – Birds of North America

They are nocturnal migrants, flying through the night, a dangerous journey for a tiny bird that is only 5 inches (13cm) long. They stop to refuel and rest during the day, sometimes staying for a few days before setting off again on their journey to Canada. In autumn the journey is reversed as the majority of the Palm Warblers head to their wintering range in Florida, the southern coast of the US, and the Caribbean.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise / May 4 2013 2:49 am

    Well done with capturing your flighty visitor- I do know how tricky little birds are to photograph.


    • Leslie / May 4 2013 8:05 am

      In the first shot the bird paused to preen – you can see how fluffy he is. The second shot, different bird, he paused to look around.


  2. brokencookiesdontcount / May 4 2013 5:22 am

    I love bird photos…these are wonderful!


  3. Joy / May 4 2013 5:57 am

    Such a beautiful creature. Photo zoom lens? 🙂


    • Leslie / May 4 2013 8:03 am

      It’s a 55-250mm zoom. I’d love one of those professional quality lenses but they are very pricey!


  4. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / May 4 2013 6:07 am

    Oh my, I LOVE this little cutie – again, your captures are amazing Leslie.


    • Leslie / May 4 2013 8:08 am

      Thanks! The spring warblers are some of the most fun birds to watch. Last spring I didn’t get any photos of them because the trees were fully leafed out by April and the birds could barely been seen.


  5. Brona / May 4 2013 6:37 am

    I’m always amazed out your incredibly clear close-ups. I can’t imagine the patience required to get these great shots 🙂


    • Leslie / May 4 2013 8:01 am

      Patience and a little luck too. It also helps if the bird cooperates a little. Palm Warblers will stay still for a second or two; most warblers never stop moving.


  6. BermudaOnion / May 4 2013 7:48 am

    What a beauty!


  7. Sheila (Book Journey) / May 4 2013 8:07 am

    Beautiful bird!


  8. Beth Hoffman / May 4 2013 8:46 am

    You are so lucky to have this darling little bird in your area! I didn’t know they were nocturnal migrants. We don’t have them here in KY so it’s a treat to see your photos.


    • Leslie / May 4 2013 8:53 am

      They pass through KY same as IL, you just need to find one on the week they visit you. During the next few weeks most of the warblers are heading north. The best time to see them is early (7 – 8) in the morning in wooded areas.


  9. laurelrainsnow / May 4 2013 8:59 am

    Amazing creature! And how wonderful that you managed to “capture” this one! Thanks for sharing the photos and intriguing facts.



  10. Pat @ Posting For Now / May 4 2013 9:26 am

    Wonderful photos!


  11. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / May 4 2013 9:39 am

    So much fun to learn about new-to-me birds! I’ve been seeing many sparrows in the neighborhood, and have often wondered how many varieties I’ve really been seeing without knowing it. Or maybe they all are just the same species of little sparrow. 🙂


  12. therelentlessreader / May 4 2013 9:59 am

    I always love your bird photos, these especially. Adorable!


  13. Paulita / May 4 2013 11:32 am

    I love the color and the curiosity


  14. Anne / May 4 2013 1:07 pm

    Your photography is just simply amazing.


  15. Arti / May 4 2013 2:01 pm

    We were out chasing warblers today with the birding group, but didn’t see any today. However yours here are lovely. I did take some photos of loons. May post them some other times.


  16. Suko / May 4 2013 2:02 pm

    What a lovely warbler! You are such a wonderful nature photographer, Leslie!


  17. Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) / May 4 2013 7:20 pm

    Glad you were able to get the shots. Love learning about birds from you.

    My SS


  18. Mary / May 4 2013 8:02 pm

    Is it unusual to fly at night? I guess I thought they all slept when I do, lol.


  19. Cipriano / May 5 2013 8:24 pm

    I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again. You really do take amazing bird shots!
    [Wow — one would really want to be careful to not commit a vowel typo with that last word there!]
    The second photo — I just wish it was “scratch and sing”. Really lovely.


  20. carol anne / May 6 2013 2:58 am

    Such a pretty little bird. I love your bird posts.


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