In “On the Move,” our regular column about migration, we present pairs of distribution maps from eBird that you can use to compare where interesting birds are at different times of the year. We featured Black-and-white Warbler, pictured above, in our March/April 2019 issue.
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Black-and-white Warbler is distinctive in several ways, from its striking black and white streaks to its unusual (for a wood-warbler) foraging behavior, in which it creeps along trunks and large tree branches, probing like a nuthatch. In January, during the nonbreeding season, the warbler is found primarily from Mexico to northern South America and in most of the Caribbean. Some individuals winter in portions of the southern United States, represented by purple squares on the January map. The species is fairly hardy, and there are winter records in places like coastal Oregon and New England. Black-and-white Warbler is one of our earlier spring migrant wood-warblers, and by April, a flood of individuals will have crossed the Gulf of Mexico reaching practically all of the eastern U.S. and portions of southern Canada. Listen for the high-frequency song of the male, typically a series of repeated couplets sounding somewhat like a squeaky wheel.
eBird is the real-time online checklist operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon. “On the Move” is written by eBird’s Garrett MacDonald, Chris Wood, Marshall Iliff, and Brian Sullivan. Submit your bird sightings at ebird.org.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the March/April 2019 issue of BirdWatching.