Nashville Warbler

Hey guys, welcome back. Today’s little warbler is the Nashville. The Nashville warbler is found in Nashville, Tennessee, however only during migration. These little birds breed in the northeastern US and southern Canada and winter in Mexico and Central America. So why are they called the Nashville warbler? Well, as you probably know, if you’re the scientist that discovers a species, you get to name it. Back in the early 1800s we weren’t just exploring the land of our new country (yes I’m going to just use the word explore here. I’m not getting derailed into a long US history lesson haha.) We were also exploring the wildlife that lived here. Alexander Wilson, often referred to as the Father of American Ornithology, was the first to describe a number of species, and even has a few named after him. Well, when he first found and described today’s bird, the specimen found was in Nashville, so he named it after the place it was discovered!

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Nashville warbler in fall plumage, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Nashville warblers are, like a lot of warblers, mostly bright yellow. They have a gray head, with a distinctive white eye-ring, as well as white undertail coverts (the feathers at the bottom of the body near the tail.) In fall, they are slightly drabber but still sporting that white eye-ring. There is a western population of Nashville warblers that breed in the Pacific Northwest and migrate west of the Rockies. This population was once considered a different species, and is on average more brightly colored than the eastern population.

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Fall plumaged Nashville warbler, Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, Mentor, OH

Nashville warblers are birds I always enjoy seeing. They were one of the first non-common warblers in NYC that I was able to spot and ID with no assistance. The first one I ever saw as not way up in a tree, or in the understory of the forest, it was in a small stream that runs into the larger Loch in Central Park’s Ravine. I was walking through one sunny morning and there it was, taking a bath! I’m not sure if I’ve ever come across another warbler taking a bath since, so it always sticks out to me. In NY I’d see one or two Nashville’s every migration, but in St. Louis, and especially here in Ohio, I see a lot of them, particularly during fall migration. Thankfully they got that eye-ring or they’d be a bit more tricky to ID. Next up a common backyard bird with a very loud voice, the house wren! See you all then!

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