Blue-Winged Warbler

Range Map
Vermivora cyanoptera

Blue-Winged Warblers breed east of the Mississippi River from northern Arkansas north to southeast Wisconsin, and east to New England, but they spend winters in eastern Mexico and Central America. The birds I met in southern Texas were migrating north to perpetuate their species. Habitat change such as clear-cut forests have benefitted these birds, but at the expense of the endangered, but genetically similar Golden-Winged Warbler, which these birds will hybridize with, posing yet another threat to the Golden-Winged Warbler’s gene pool.

Today’s science does not recognize any subspecies of Blue-Winged Warbler (i.e. they are monotypic).

My meeting with this bird was all too brief. It was late in April 2020, and the pandemic lockdown prevented me from visiting many premier birding destinations, such as Resaca de la Palma, west of Brownsville (Texas).

Least Grebes were a species native to this region, and I wanted to find them. At the far side of the reserve from the visitor’s center, is a location called Hunter’s Lane. I was told it was the only place that might have enough water to support the grebes. I rode my bicycle out to the location, hoping I might find the grebes, but the water barely constituted a mud puddle.

Water levels rise and fall depending on a controlled water delivery system and the demand for agricultural uses. I found no grebes that day (nor that year), but all was not lost. I met with a single Blue-Winged Warbler, along with Bronzed Cowbirds, Clay-Colored Thrushes, Common Ground Doves, Common Yellowthroats, Couch’s Kingbirds, Groove-Billed Anis, Painted Buntings, Stilt Sandpipers, Wilson’s Phalaropes, and Yellow-Billed Cuckoos.

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