To join Greg on one of these tours visit BigYearTours.com or call 888-875-9453

In 1998, Greg zig-zagged 130,000 miles across the USA, while trying to hold down a full-time job, aspiring to reach at least 700 species of birds in one calendar year. "The Big Year," a novel by Mark Obmascik detailed his travails alongside two competitors. The book was later turned into a movie of the same title that starred Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson!

Warblers – Where To Go And When

Spring is finally here. Well. Early spring. Weather teases us with warmer temperatures and then bashes us with the last blasts of winter’s fury. It’s an up and down time for weather. But the birds know that change is in the air. And birds are looking for favorable winds from the south to help them on their perilous journeys north to their breeding grounds.

If you are like me then you love that family of small cheerful birds called warblers. These are wonderfully colorful gems that grace us with their presence on their way. If you get to see a Blackburnian Warbler (pictured above) you may be seeing a bird that has traveled from as far away as Ecuador! They must have so many stories…

This is a large family of birds in North America with over 50 species. Chances are good that you have seen at least some of them no matter what your level of experience. But even if you get out birding often, you may still have a few holes in your checklist. And you want to fill them. I hope I can help you with that.

Below is a list of warblers (in 2016 taxonomic order). Data is taken from eBird from 2006-2016. Counties are taken from my own list of most-eBirded counties (most eBirded means counties with the most checklists) in the United States for that 10-year period. Peak dates are narrowed down to the week that gives a birder the highest probability of adding this species to their checklist. The %ofChecklists column is the same as eBird’s frequency of checklists. For example, if a county has 1,000 total checklists for a given week and yellow warbler was marked (one or more individuals) as seen on 600 of those checklists then the %ofChecklists would 60%. So that 60% would represent your relative probability of adding it to your checklist.

Below is a list of all the warblers recorded in eBird between 2006 and 2016 (I’ve included Yellow-breasted Chat for us old folks). Note that for rare species, the data I have can easily be skewed by one cooperative bird showing up in an easily accessible public spot. But for most everything else I think you’ll find the results to be quite accurate.

-Greg Miller

SpeciesStateCountyPeak% of Checklists
OvenbirdConnecticutLitchfieldJun 22-3062.7%
Worm-eating WarblerFloridaMiami-DadeSep 15-2142.0%
Louisiana WaterthrushKentuckyPulaskiJun 1-732.5%
Northern WaterthrushNew YorkQueensAug 15-2145.1%
Golden-winged WarblerIowaJohnsonMay 8-1422.2%
Blue-winged WarblerNew YorkDutchessMay 15-2138.6%
Black-and-white WarblerNew YorkNew YorkMay 1-763.3%
Prothonotary WarblerLouisianaEast Baton RougeJun 8-1439.8%
Swainson’s WarblerTexasJeffersonApr 8-1410.0%
Crescent-chested WarblerArizonaSanta CruzJan 22-310.5%
Tennessee WarblerKentuckyPulaskiSep 22-3053.6%
Orange-crowned WarblerTexasHidalgoDec 1-767.4%
Colima WarblerTexasBrewsterMay 22-3113.3%
Lucy’s WarblerArizonaYavapaiApr 1-729.1%
Nashville WarblerWisconsinMilwaukeeMay 8-1443.7%
Virginia’s WarblerNew MexicoLos AlamosMay 8-1416.2%
Connecticut WarblerGeorgiaClarkeMay 8-148.8%
Gray-crowned YellowthroatTexasHidalgoFeb 1-72.6%
MacGillivray’s WarblerPennsylvaniaDauphinNov 22-3024.8%
Mourning WarblerTexasHidalgoSep 8-1418.1%
Kentucky WarblerKentuckyPulaskiJun 1-738.6%
Common YellowthroatKentuckyPulaskiJun 1-772.3%
Hooded WarblerGeorgiaCobbApr 22-3040.7%
American RedstartNew YorkNew YorkMay 15-2163.8%
Kirtland’s WarblerOhioMontgomeryMay 1-78.3%
Cape May WarblerOhioLucasMay 8-1434.5%
Cerulean WarblerIndianaMonroeMay 15-2121.8%
Northern ParulaFloridaSeminoleAug 15-2158.2%
Tropical ParulaTexasHidalgoJan 15-214.4%
Magnolia WarblerKentuckyPulaskiSep 22-3064.3%
Bay-breasted WarblerOhioLucasMay 15-2136.7%
Blackburnian WarblerOhioLucasMay 8-1436.1%
Yellow WarblerNew YorkSenecaMay 15-2171.0%
Chestnut-sided WarblerGeorgiaCobbSep 22-3047.7%
Blackpoll WarblerNew YorkNew YorkMay 15-2148.7%
Black-throated Blue WarblerNew YorkNew YorkMay 8-1456.2%
Palm WarblerFloridaPolkNov 8-1474.0%
Pine WarblerGeorgiaCobbApr 8-1458.8%
Yellow-rumped WarblerMississippiHancockDec 15-2178.8%
Yellow-throated WarblerKentuckyPulaskiJun 1-745.8%
Prairie WarblerFloridaMonroeSep 1-757.3%
Grace’s WarblerArizonaCoconinoJun 8-1413.8%
Black-throated Gray WarblerCaliforniaVenturaOct 8-1428.8%
Townsend’s WarblerCaliforniaSan FranciscoOct 1-745.2%
Hermit WarblerCaliforniaMariposaJun 15-2129.5%
Golden-cheeked WarblerTexasTravisMar 22-3114.3%
Black-throated Green WarblerMaineHancockMay 22-3156.3%
Fan-tailed WarblerTexasBrewsterSep 1-74.7%
Rufous-capped WarblerArizonaCochiseOct 1-73.2%
Golden-crowned WarblerTexasHidalgoJan 1-71.5%
Canada WarblerNew YorkNew YorkMay 15-2139.2%
Wilson’s WarblerCaliforniaInyoMay 15-2150.3%
Red-faced WarblerArizonaCochiseJun 1-79.8%
Painted RedstartArizonaCochiseJun 1-721.9%
Slate-throated RedstartArizonaCochiseOct 1-73.2%
Yellow-breasted ChatKentuckyPulaskiJun 1-762.7%

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