1. As I have explained at length in my last 10,000 Birds blog post, wood warblers are nondescript little birds, formally known by the binomial Phylloscopus sibilatrix. Being an identity thief just does not win friends in honest birding circles. As soon as those smart scientist types see the error in their ways, they will find the statistics to support immediate renaming of all American “wood-warblers” to Silly Canaries – a much more fitting name (see aforementioned blog post for a complete analysis of the evidence).

2. Who could trust anyone with a face like this:    (there is evil in those eyes)

Kirtland’s Silly-Canary (Dendroica kirtlandii)

Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region cc on flickr

3. How can staring up in to the canopy for an entire day be any good for anyone besides chiropractors? Corey and Rob claim to have found a cure for this ailment; but I don’t believe him at all: surely carrying a tree stem with me would just give me another form of back pain? But he is not the only one to channel his creative spirits in to coming up with a solution to warbler neck. A few years ago, I read a very interesting (almost life-changing) article by John Rakestraw on beating warbler neck. That does not make those Silly Canaries any less evil, it just means we can deal with them better.

Rob Jett aka The City Birder anti warbler necking

4. Great big eagles have much better bills. and there are plenty of other birds with much more respectable bills. How can I respect a bird with such a silly bird anyway. This is a real bird:

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) digiscoped with a Swarovski Scope / Nikon D300s

5. Arctic Terns, now that is a migration I can respect. 71,000km/44,000mi per year. The tiny Ruby-throated Humminbird at 3grams manages a 450mi journey over the Gulf of Mexico in a guesstimated 22hours. Respect. Whilst looking for Whale Sharks in the Honduran Caribbean, we would sometimes have little Yellow Warblers come on by. At 10g it seems rather tubby compared to the hummer. Not nearly as impressive.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Glenn E. Wilson cc on flickr

6. I am so annoyed by them that I have forgotten my 6th point. grrr. grrrr. they are just so annoying.

there are plenty greater things in this world than forgetting why warblers frustrate me

a moving image by Venetia Joubert Sarah Oosterveld cc on flickr


7. but the thing that annoys me most about wood-warblers is that I am really incredibly jealous. there. said it.


This week, 8 May – 14 May 2011, is Wood-Warbler Week on 10,000 Birds!  Though wood-warblers, the mostly brightly colored birds of the family Parulidae, are only found in the New World we felt that birders the world over would be pleased to see a plethora of posts about these striking and sought after species.  We are devoting a whole week to wood-warblers but are only just barely scratching the surface of possible topics involving this amazing family of birds.

Right now great flocks of wood-warblers are making their way north from the southern United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America to breed across the United States and Canada.  Many other non-migratory wood-warbler species are living their lives across the neotropics, doing their best to survive and pass on their genes. Wood-Warbler Week is a celebration of all wood-warblers and we hope you join us in celebrating these absolutely wonderful birds.  Read about them here but also get out and experience them.  You won’t regret it!

Written by Dale Forbes
Dale grew up in the forests and savannas of South Africa, developing a love for nature from a young age. After studying Zoology and Wildlife Science, he moved to Central America to continue his work in conservation biology. He is a member of BirdLife International’s Advisory Board and is Swarovski Optik’s Head of Strategic Business Development.