07.26.20: Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler staying alert, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Palm Warbler staying alert, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Bird’s arrival is a sign of spring in Ohio

From the name, it would be expected that Palm Warblers spend much of their time in tropical areas, perched in palm trees, but they aren’t tropical birds. 

It’s a sure sign that spring is approaching when I see Palm Warblers in local parks in Central Ohio. Or maybe it’s a sign that summer is ending.

That’s because Palm Warblers show up in Central Ohio only for a few weeks at the start of spring and fall migration. The birds head north earlier than other warblers, so their appearance in an area in mid to late April during their trip north to their breeding grounds in Canada is a sign that other migrating birds will soon arrive in the area. And Palm Warblers begin heading slowly south from Canada to their wintering range along the coastal southern United States and the Caribbean in late August, earlier than other birds, so they usually pass through Central Ohio in early to mid September.

I found this Palm Warbler resting on a tree branch in late April, around the time they typically disappear from this area. It’s unusual for me to get a photo of a Palm Warbler perched on a branch. They spend most of their time foraging for food on open ground or under low vegetation.

From the name, it would be expected that Palm Warblers spend much of their time in tropical areas, perched in palm trees, but they aren’t tropical birds. Palm Warblers are one of the northernmost breeding of all warblers. The name, according to All About Birds, was given by naturalist Johann Gmelin in the late 1700s, who named the bird based on a specimen collected on a Caribbean island with a lot of palm trees.

Tech specs

  • Date/time: April 26, 2015, 9:19 a.m.
  • Location: 40°6'43.68" N 82°57'32.784" W (Show in Google Maps)
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II 
  • Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm)
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1/500th second
  • ISO: 400