Leaving Now for Veracruz

Pair of Prothonotary Warblers courting (photo by Kim Steininger)

The amazing thing about warblers is how short a time they're with us.

These prothonotary warblers were courting and planning a family when Kim Steininger snapped their picture in the Cuyahoga Valley in May.  Now they've finished breeding and are leaving for their wintering grounds somewhere between Veracruz and the coast of Venezuela.

So how short a time are prothonotary warblers here?  Their year is almost evenly divided into three-month periods of activity:

  • Northward migration from late February to early May,
  • Breeding from May through July,
  • Southward migration from August through October and
  • On their wintering grounds from November through January.

If there's any variation in the schedule it's an increased time spent migrating and a reduced breeding period.  Despite these time challenges prothonotary warblers in the southern U.S. raise two broods.

Now they're on the move.  Their southward migration normally peaks in Ohio from August 10th to 20th.  By mid-September they'll be in Veracruz, Mexico.  Who knows how much farther these two will have to travel to get home.


(photo by Kim Steininger)

2 thoughts on “Leaving Now for Veracruz

  1. Yes, they do look like they’re in love. I read on Birds of North America Online that “pair bonds may sometimes be maintained on wintering areas” so this couple could actually stay together all year even though they migrate.

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