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The Warblers of Payne County, Oklahoma

Updated on October 4, 2015
Bay-breasted Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler

Warblers in a Nutshell

There are from fifty-two to sixty warblers that are either in this country or will cross the Mexican border legally without a need for a passport. However, in order to keep things relatively simple, we will only concern ourselves with warblers that come to Payne County, Oklahoma, as of this writing. Don’t fear these beautiful little birds, as they can really be identified without a lot of fanfare. Without further adieu, meet the warblers of the area.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler | Source

Yellow Warbler

The Yellow Warbler is one of the most common in this area, and can be observed in both the spring and fall. It may be one of the tiniest, but it has a song that makes it sound like one of the largest birds in the world. It can be located in moist thickets and bushes in a wetland area.

This gorgeous bird has large, dark eyes that contrast with a bright lemony face with a thin black bill. During breeding season, the male has red or orange vertical streaks on the breast, which the female lacks. This bird is olive yellow on the top, and the undertail coverts are all yellow, which is a big distinguishing characteristic on setting it apart from others in the species.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler
Yellow-Rumped Warbler | Source

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is blue-gray with black accents, black face, yellow sides, white belly, two white wingbars, and of course, a yellow rump patch. It likes mixed forest dwelling and edges of clearings, and winters in this area in all sorts of habitat. It has a slow trill that rises and falls. It sometimes uses a birdbath.

Northern Parula
Northern Parula

Northern Parula

The Northern Parula is another tiny warbler with a sharp bill and a short tail that is often raised. This bird is blue-gray on topside, two short white wingbars, green mantle, dark necklace, bright yellow throat and breast, and an orange lower mandible. These beauties can be found in mature woods with water in the vicinity, usually high in the trees.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat | Source

Common Yellowthroat

The Common Yellowthroat adores dense woodland, shrubs, and thickets around clearings with water in the area, but it appreciates drier real estate, too. It likes to feed near the ground, often well concealed, and can flit around, go to ground, grab insects out of the air, and sometimes hover.

This black-masked bandit has light olive upperparts and underbelly, with a bright yellow throat and dark cap with white between it and the mask.. The female is not often seen, has no mask and is much less colorful. The male has a “whitchety-whitchety-whitchety-witch” call.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler

The Pine Warbler is larger than most with a long tail. The male has a very yellow head and breast, dark cheek patches, yellow eyerings, a white belly and undertail, and sometimes the olive streaks on the sides of the breast are visible.

It favors pine trees and pine woods, and has been known to use feeders and the ground with bluebirds.

Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

The Black-and-white Warbler is streaked exactly like that, but the female is not as brightly colored, more gray streaked. These birds behave like a nuthatch or creeper, sidling up and down branches and tree trunks in search of insects. They will sometimes grab their protein on the wing, too. The bill is long for a warbler and slight downcurved. They are generally found in mixed woods, sometimes interested in the privacy of ravines and slopes. The male calls “weesa-weesa-weesa-weesa.”

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

The Prothonotary Warbler has a bright yellow-orange head with blue-gray wings, and mostly white undertail and rump. It is common in lowland deciduous forests with standing water or swamps. It stays relatively low in the understory, and is at home around the long and hanging old man’s beard.

Orange-crowned Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler

The Orange-crowned Warbler’s crown is rarely seen, and it is less colorful than most warblers. It has an olive green upper body, dull yellow underparts, with no visible wingbars. It likes low shrubs and very shady trees by slow-moving water. It is also happy in thickets in deciduous wooded area and second growth in clearings, or burned over sites.

Nashville Warbler
Nashville Warbler

Nashville Warbler

The Nashville Warbler is relatively small, short-tailed, a blue-gray head, complete white eyering, yellow throat, and olive tail and wings. It likes to be near water and is about in the mid-story to higher range of open woods and brush patches. It’s call is “zeeta-zeeta-zeeta-zeeta,” with sometimes a harsh metallic “pink-pink-pink.”

Prairie Warbler
Prairie Warbler

Prairie Warbler

The Prairie Warbler will come in late spring, a small, but long-tailed bird that will flick its tail. It has an arched yellow eyebrow, bright yellow lower half of body with dark streaks from neck to legs, and rufous streaks on the back. This bird enjoys sunny and open second-growth forest in the vicinity of unused fields.

Wilson's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

Wilson's Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler is small with a long tail and wings and is notorious for flicking the tail. It has big dark eyes, yellow eyering, pale yellow face, dark cap, and olive-yellow upper body. It is also bright yellow from the chin to the undertail coverts and has a dark tail. It is generally found in most brushy or wooded areas. It has a chattered, “chchchchchch” whistle, with a “tlk” call when in flight.

Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-breasted Chat | Source

Yellow-breasted Chat

The Yellow-breasted Chat is the largest of the tribe, with bright yellow throat, olive-gray upperparts, white spectacles, heavy dark bill, and white belly. It usually is secretive, hiding in vegetation, woods edges, and brush in open, sunny locales. Singing males perch on higher branches and perform flight displays.

Yellow-throated Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler | Source

Yellow-throated Warbler

The Yellow-throated Warbler sometimes comes in the spring. It is gray and white with a black mask and frames the yellow throat. It will be found in large pines or sycamores in mature lowland forests. It forages for insects under the eaves of houses and in trees like a creeper or nuthatch. It’s song is a “teedle-tu” variation.

Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler

The Blackpoll Warbler has been known to reside here for mid-spring, and from a distance resembles the eastern chickadees. It has a dark crown, white cheeks, gray upperparts with bold black striping, white wingbars, yellow legs, and short tails. The underparts are white with some dark streaking. The female is lighter, minus the dark cap. This bird moves slowly and deliberately while feeding, spending most of its time on inner branches gleaning insects, where it can be found nearly anywhere during migration.

Perhaps this brief synopsis is enough to whet your appetite on exploring Payne County, Oklahoma, if you have an interest in warblers. This is nothing like High Island or South Padre Island in Texas where there are major fallouts, though we do have some upon occasion. This is just an overview of what is seen in this county over the year, which I might add, is still pretty spectacular, considering that we also get close to 500 species of birds in this state. Happy birding, and I hope to see you in my travels.

What is a Hot Birding Spot in Payne County?

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 6 weeks ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell! Wish I could visit your area for a while and photograph some of the birds

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 weeks ago from England

      This is so lovely. I love the prairie warbler what a lovely yellow color! I tend to be a bird person I think I mentioned at least a 100 times that I have red kites outside my balcony! LOL! great article as always.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 7 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I think so, too, Anita. Thanks for reading.

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 7 months ago from Port Elizabeth

      Will do so, birds are amazing.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 7 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Anita, unless it is indicated that they are not mine. I live right across the street from a wonderful source of wildlife, called Boomer Lake. I also take at least one out of the area trip per year to locate additional species. Follow me on Google+ for current info in my birding column.

    • Anita Hasch profile image

      Anita Hasch 7 months ago from Port Elizabeth

      You have such beautiful pictures of the birds. Do you take them yourself?

      Fantastic, you can see every little detail. I love watching the birds from my window.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 8 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell. It is always a pleasure.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 8 months ago from England

      Still love all your wildlife articles Deb, amazing photos!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 8 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Rolly! Warblers are such gorgeous birds. Two new varieties were discovered as they both bred together!

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 8 months ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Deb...

      We have these little beauties here in Alberta and they are such a pleasure to watch and listen too. Your hub is very informative and I so love the pictures... well done Deb as always...

      Hugs from Canada

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 10 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Patricia! I hope that all goes well for her, and so happy that you thought about this story for essence of beauty.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 10 months ago from sunny Florida

      Hi Deb... I know I have been to this hub before but today I am all about the beauty. It helps soothe the soul. My daughter has been in the hospital since Friday and is having surgery as I write this. I am waiting to see her after it is complete.

      Have a lovely day and know that many Angels are on the way to you ps

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      You are most welcome, Ronna. Nature is priceless.

    • Ronna Pennington profile image

      Ronna Pennington 11 months ago from Arkansas

      What beautiful birds! Thanks for sharing!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      You're welcome, Pat. There are other organizations that you can appeal to for help for this good cause. Also try your local churches, see if members can run bake sales, schools can do car washes, even write to government and don't stop with the locals, either. Try the Federal government, too. Stop at nothing for that dear child.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 11 months ago from sunny Florida

      Thank you Deb for stopping by to send good wishes to us about Heston Wayne.

      We remain every hopeful that we will raise the pennies we need to help with his medical care.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Songbirds are wonderful, but some aren't too small. Cuckoos, mockingbirds and thrashers are actually good-sized, yet the little warbllers are the finest with some of the biggest voices that you'll ever hear, Audrey. Thanks for reading, and may the birds remain with you!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 11 months ago from California

      I love these smaller birds--I sometimes hear them in the wee hours of the morning in the trees outside my window--it is a special kind of waking I think--thank you for sharing these wonderful creatures with us!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 11 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Norma! There's a lot more pics where those came from.

    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 11 months ago from California

      Great article and the pictures are beautiful.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 13 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I do not envy you, Katharine, for I grew up in the Maine woods, and know al about snow and ice. You have a lot more warblers in your area in the spring than the Pine Warbler.

    • Sparrowlet profile image

      Katharine L Sparrow 13 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Warblers are such cute little creatures! I know we have pine warblers in my area, but not sure if there are others here. I was just watching the poor, shivering robins coming for some seed on the SNOW! It has been snowing here all day.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      This will be a fabulous year for many birds. Maine even had an Orange-crowned Warbler and a Baltimore Oriole spend the winter, which is totally out of the ordinary, even though it was an El Nino year. It shows which birds are prepared to be global warming survivors. They will not all survive.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 14 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hope you do get to see some new warblers...or even other types of birds this year. It is so much fun spotting them. Yesterday my hubby and I went to our Houston Audubon Society wooded area in the middle of our city and spotted a few birds, turtles, a rabbit and squirrels. I am sure if we sat still in many of the benches or stood still in other areas and had binoculars, we would have seen even more. We certainly did hear various bird calls and sounds.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Peggy W, they truly are. With this being an El Nino year, and the fact that I found a couple of new, quiet places, I could be in for almost anything this spring migration.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 14 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I loved seeing all the beautiful photos of the different warblers that visit your area of Oklahoma. They are certainly beautiful...each and every one of them!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 16 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I'll bet that if you can wander into a few parks with water, trees, and shrubs, you'll find some very good birds.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 16 months ago

      A very informative hub with lovely pictures. I had never heard of warblers before. In fact, we don't get to see enough birds in the neighborhood. The jinx of modern era!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 16 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey RandaHandler! You're so welcome. It wasn't a lot of research, as birds are my field.

    • RandaHandler profile image

      Randa Awn Handler 16 months ago from USA

      Beautiful vivid pictures! Thanks for all the research and sharing.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 16 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Excellent choice! Yes, many of these wonders summer in your area. Look on line for a local bird club, get yourself a birding guide(might I suggest Sibley's), a pair of binoculars, and you'll be well on your way. A camera is a good way to record how they look, if you want to do that, but you don't need to do so. Any questions, let me know!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 16 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You got me interested in these birds. I need to find out if they are in Ontario, Canada, too.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell! I always have a good time with my birds, so I'll teach you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 18 months ago from England

      You never fail to amaze me with your knowledge and amazing photos, I am useless naming any birds, but love them all when I see them, wonderful!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      There are so many gorgeous birds in this world, Alicia. The nice thing is that there are so many that grace our own shores.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The photos are beautiful, Deb! Thank you for sharing such a lovely overview of the warblers of Payne County.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Imogen! These birds spend our winters in the tropics, and most birds there are so colorful. I have noticed that your birds only seem to be the hardiest stock, due to weather conditions. These warblers really would not do terribly well with your weather conditions. Due to natural selection and their distribution, cold weather climates can suffer a great deal on the birds that they are able to see. Thanks for reading!

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 19 months ago from Southwest England

      Wow, fantastic pictures. Your warblers are so colourful and pretty - in England all of our warblers seem to be brown, though still pretty in their own way. How lucky you are to see and hear all of these. Beautiful hub, thanks for sharing.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Lawrence. Wish I could see some more of your birds and animals.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Deb

      Really enjoyed this hub. I might not get to see these birds 'in the flesh' but even seeing them this way is special.

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I am as playful and ready to run, just like my birds, Jill.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 19 months ago from United States

      This is a gorgeous hub, Deb, and your descriptions are playful and lovely to read.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      They are beautiful birds, Patricia. It amazes me how far they can migrate, but there are some birds that go nearly from one end of the world to the other twice a year.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 19 months ago from sunny Florida

      How cute the rumpled warbler is...looks like me when I first arise in the a.m.

      The colors of these warblers are so vivid...I would spend far too much time watching them I fear and neglect others things I should be doing...of course what better use of my time that enjoying nature's beauty..

      great hub

      shared pinned

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      I hope that you can, too. Hope that the cold snap doesn't come your way. I feel bad for the northeast and along the Great Lakes, but I sure don't miss those days.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 19 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Sure hope so! Tuesday and Wednesday look good next week; hope I can get out one of those days.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Not necessarily earlier, but it could be worse than it was. It has been cooling rapidly here, too, Jackie, and lots of birds have come through early, which is a good indicator that weather could be moving quicker than normal. Personally, I watch bird behavior in order to plan for the weather. Nothing beas fall weather, and from what I have seen up not, it looks like very vibrant fall colors are headed your way.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 19 months ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow; early could mean an early winter you think? Sure went from hot to cold here in NC; am hoping we still have some warm days to come. I love fall for taking pictures! So much color.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Ducks are coming in now, which is a little early for the lake, but I expect to be seeing a lot of diversity this fall and winter. If El Nino hits like it is supposed to do, a lot of strange events could be playing out for everyone.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 19 months ago from The Beautiful South

      The black and white warbler is just gorgeous! Hope you have a long fall so you can get us plenty of shots before it turns cold!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Actually, Missy, that is not always the case. Run up the Buffleheads, and you tell me who is prettier!

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 19 months ago from Florida

      These birds are so cute. I like the black and white warbler. However, I have never liked the fact that males are more colorful than females in the bird world; that just doesn't make sense to me. lol....Great article!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Good work, Sha! Some can be on the ground, and all the way up through the tops of the trees, so be sure to look in their proper hangouts.

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      Shauna L Bowling 19 months ago from Central Florida

      Deb, these birds are beautiful - and so many varieties! I Googled warblers in my area while reading this. Apparently, certain species do winter here. I'll be on the lookout for them for sure!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      We have so many good birds, Larry, which is why I have chosen to write about them. We don't realize how fortunate we are in the plains states.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      thumbi, you have a few dozen warblers in your area. Glad you liked the pictures.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

      I always enjoy your articles about our native birds.

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      JR Krishna 19 months ago from India

      Incredible photography

      Amazing colors. Are these birds seen in India also?

      I am not very good at birds. But I think I have seen few of them out here.

      Thanks for sharing this fabulous hub :)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      There are so many warblers out there, Dave, if I am lucky to see and photograph them all, it will be remarkable.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 19 months ago from Lancashire north west England

      Deb,you sure are lucky in Oklahoma and your photography is amazing. Once again I have to thank you for adding to my knowledge on your birds. I think if the yellow warbler were not so common it would be a much sought after beauty. Booked marked for further use and reference.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Peg. The amazing thing is, is that they ALL come to Oklahoma.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 19 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      These are such beautiful creatures. I love their bright colors and their songs. Wonderful write up of this collection of warblers.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      ChitrangadaSharan, thank you for your statement. You also have many wonderful birds in your area, too, that I one day hope to see, like the Houbara Bustard, assorted vultures, and the hobbies. The world is surrounded with beauty, but we must become better stewards for it to remain fruitful.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 19 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Beautiful hub and very interesting information about the Warblers. Your description of Warblers is so beautiful, so exquisite! Only Nature can create such rich and bright colours on living creatures--simply incredible! And you are so fortunate to see them in their natural environment.

      Thanks for sharing this with others.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Oh, MsDora, they are beautiful birds. In the fall, so many of them look so different, but if one is patient, it is possible to pick out the similarities. This spring, I was able to ID the females that I had seen for the first time due to that reasoning.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 19 months ago from The Caribbean

      Such a rich yellow, as are the other colors. Love the black and white along with its male call. Thanks for these interesting descriptions. "Happy Birding" from me too, for those who will.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, manatita! They sure are beautiful birds, and just think, there are SO many more.

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      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      Spectacular indeed!! The first thing that struck me was their colour and beauty, especially those at the top. Your description of Warblers are so beautiful, so exquisite, Deb. I feel like I can live with them for a while.

      A truly excellent Hub!!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      That's pretty amazing, Perspy. I didn't even know they had that available.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 19 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Here are a few warbler sounds free from the Cornell Ornithology Lab: http://macaulaylibrary.org/guide/songs-of-the-warb...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      You know, Perspy, I thought about that, and it would have made the story so long. You should be able to find each one on Youtube.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      So glad to hear that, Sanjay. It goes to show that birds really DO get around.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 19 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Deb, You have done it again. A glorious display, but one thing is missing: the songs of each of these warblers. That's asking a lot I know, but beauty is only feathers deep. Warblers presumably warble. Please give me a link to where I can enjoy their warbling. It would make my day.

    • SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

      Sanjay Sharma 19 months ago from Mandi (HP) India

      Thanks for sharing the wonderful information. The pictures are really beautiful. Some of these species are found in India too.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, whonu. All it takes is just a little effort to educate, as you know.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 19 months ago from United States

      Great photos and interesting information on our feathered friends. Well done my friend.whonu

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      You get your share, Billy. Keep an eye out...fair warning, they are quick little buggers.

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      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What cool looking birds. If we have them here I'm unaware of it. I wish we did and I wish they all lived on our farm. :)

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      They aren't that confusing, Mel. Look for the basics, and the rest will fall into place. Take a slice of the pie at a time.

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      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      Looks like Warbler heaven. I know about half of these birds. I need to get out and crawl through some thickets, although the Warblers we get here are mostly in their "confusing fall" plumage. Great hub!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      But you do get some of them. If we have another rainy winter and spring, you really should spend some time in the southeastern areas, like Red Slough, Little River, and Tishomingo. When there is water for the rivers and lakes, it makes a big difference on what interests the birds.

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      Sheila Brown 19 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

      What beautiful pictures! I am going to have to make a trip to Boomer Lake someday! I would love to see and listen to all these birds. I didn't know that there was such a variety. I don't believe I see any warblers down here in southern Oklahoma.

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