Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring's Feature Presentation: Golden-cheeked Warblers

Golden-cheeked Warblers are now showing at Friedrich Wilderness Park and other locations throughout the Texas Hill Country. The endangered species is an early migrant that travels from South America to the heart of Texas just to nest in mixed woodlands with deciduous trees and Ashe Junipers.

On Sunday, Marcin, Daria and I found at least 2 warblers on the Water Trail at Friedrich around 3 p.m. We first heard the distinct call while sitting near the windmill and eventually found a beautiful male moving about the cedars.

Now it's important to not get the Golden-cheeks confused with a similar looking species, the Black-throated Green Warbler. If you've never seen a Golden-cheeked, be sure to study the difference. Note the definite black line and bright yellow/gold in the face. Also, Black-throated Green males have green on the back. The well-defined facial pattern and green back will help you make an accurate ID.

It's always exciting when the Golden-cheeked Warblers show up because birders are reminded that spring migration is under way and soon mixed flocks of Yellow-throated, Blackburnian and Cerulean warblers will be showing up at migrant traps throughout Texas.

Late March - early May is the best time to find these highly desired birds. If you plan to be in Port Aransas or anywhere near the coast during these next few months, you definitely need to check out migrant traps like the Birding Center and Paradise Pond. I'll probably be highlighting some of them in an upcoming blog entry. These areas are especially active whenever there's a weather event that causes a lot of these migrating species to take shelter at these migrant traps. This highly sought after event is known to birders as a fallout!

If you live in San Antonio, I highly recommend Warbler Woods near Schertz, TX. I plan to be a frequent visitor over the next few months.

Bluebonnets from 2011 at Warbler Woods

Spring migration is primetime for birders because rare birds can show up just about anywhere. So keep a lookout over the next few months, especially in your own back yard. Who knows? You may soon be hosting the next biggest rare bird in Texas.


  1. Beautiful bird! Warbler Woods? This is all new to me, I had no idea we had so many special birds around here.

    The Long-billed Thrasher family turned up in the backyard this week. First sighting of 2012 and third year running. They must like it here and we feel honored.

  2. Wonderful capture! Still planning a trip to visit Warbler Woods. Great time of year to visit. The bluebonnet picture is beautiful.