Ian’s Bird of the Week – Wilson’s Warbler ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 09-21-10
Here is the attractive Wlson’s Warbler one of the New World Wood-Warblers (family Parulidae) that is quite common in Canada and the western United States. We encountered this one at Point Reyes, an pleasant coastal area and good birding spot just north of San Francisco. With a length of only 12cm/4.75in, the specific name pusilla (small) given to it by Alexander Wilson in 1811 is appropriate.
The Wood-Warblers, so named to distinguish them from the unrelated Old World Warblers, are justifiably popular with American birders, particular during the spring and fall migrations. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colours, with over 50 species (out of a family total of near 120) occurring in North America. Most species spend the winter in Central and South America, a few in the warmer southern states such as California and Florida and during the migration, many birders are on the lookout for Warblers occurring outside their breeding range.
Alexander Wilson moved from Scotland to Pennsylvania in 1794 at the age of 28, became interested in ornithology in 1801 and decided in 1802 to publish a book illustrating all the North America birds. This appeared as the nine volume American Ornithology between 1808 and 1814, though Wilson died in 1813 and the ninth volume was completed by his friend George Ord. He met John James Audubon in 1810 and probably inspired him to publish his own book of illustrations, even though Audubon’s reaction to Wilson is described as ‘decidedly ambiguous’. (He declined to subscribe to American Ornithology, felt his own illustrations were much better and, in 1820, decided to publish the ‘greatest bird book ever’.) Seven species of birds are name after Wilson, including two on the Australian list, Wilson’s Phalarope and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel.
I have had a report of a list member having trouble accessing the Birdway website. If you have encountered any such difficulties recently, I’d like to hear from you. Recent additions to the website include:
Another winner for Ian. What a pretty little warbler. I like that black cap it is wearing. As he said, they are in the Parulidae Family. You can see his photos of the Parulidaes and then check out the whole family here at the Parulidae Family. There are 120 members in the family at this time.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. (Psalms 104:12 NKJV)