BRUCE SIMPSON, Blendon Woods Naturalist
Spring is my favorite time for bird watching. As the lakes and river thaw, many waterfowl fly north and some of the seed-eating birds migrate northward to their breeding territory. May is a great time to see warblers in your Metro Parks. Some of these neotropical songbirds are just passing through, while others stay here and breed. This month, you may see about 38 different types of warblers. Twenty-two species breed in Ohio.
Pine warblers are among the first of these delightful spring migrants to show up. They have bright plumages, are quite active and fly around in flocks. They can be seen looking for food in pine trees, deciduous trees and in meadows. You’ll find this bird at Clear Creek along the Hemlock Trail.
Another early arrival is the Louisiana waterthrush. They live near streams and may be seen near the water’s edge searching for insects to dine on. Look and listen for these insectivores along the Brookside, Overlook and Ripple trails at Blendon Woods. While at the park, look for hooded warblers on the Brookside Trail, common yellowthroats on the Goldenrod Trail and yellow warblers by Thoreau Lake.
You might see the hooded warbler at Blacklick Woods. I was on the Beech Trail and one popped up. This warbler nests in forest understory and is all yellow except for its black hood.
If you’re lucky, you may catch the golden-winged warbler at the beginning of the Coyote Run Trail at Highbanks. This warbler is migrating farther north and only stops here to feed.
Listen for the “whitchity whitchity whitchity” song of the common yellowthroat as you walk along the Edward Thomas Trail at Sharon Woods. This yellow warbler has a black mask.
One of my favorite warblers, the Kentucky warbler, nests along the Five Oaks Trail at Slate Run. This yellowish bird with black sideburns is best seen and heard in the morning.
Look for prothonotary warblers along the river corridor at Scioto Grove.