Canada Warbler

Cardellina canadensis
Range Map

When spring approaches, Canada Warblers leave their winter homes in northern South America and southern Central America and migrate north. Some will set up territories in the Appalachian Mountains, but most will find summer homes in Canada, from northern Alberta to the Maritime Provinces, and in the USA in the Great Lakes region and east to New England.

If I were a better photographer, I would have a bigger collection of images of this elusive warbler in this gallery. During my 2005 trip to Alaska, I caught glimpses of this bird at Lesser Slave Lake in Alberta (Canada), but I knew not of this bird’s affinity for foraging (and nesting) low to the ground, and I missed my opportunity to capture any images.

Fast forward sixteen years, and scroll the map 2,200 miles south by southeast, and find me on South Padre Island (Texas). During my spring vigil in 2021, these birds passed through on their migration north. But like my first meeting in Alberta, the Canada Warblers here stuck to the lowest thickets, and all I caught from the first migrating birds were more frustrating glimpses.

Two weeks after my first Texas meeting, I met them again, but the bird’s low position and fast movements forced me to dismount my heavy (13.5 pounds) bird lens and camera from the tripod I depend on for support, and attempt hand holding while leaning over the boardwalk’s railing to capture a picture. I can tell the reader it is no simple task to focus on a tiny, fast moving subject as it dances through mangrove branches, sometimes closer than the 9.5 feet limit of my lens. I was lucky to capture the three images the bird gave me. In 2022, I finally got an opportunity to photograph the Canada Warbler on its breeding ground at Fort Nelson in British Columbia.

Science considers the Canada Warbler as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies recognised).

Recent evidence shows a decline in the population of Canada Warblers. Habitat losses in both their winter homes in the Andes (South America) and in their Canadian breeding territories are believed to be the causes of this decline.

25 Photos

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