Weekly Wings and Migration Madness are part of a seasonal series. To see past entries, click here!

Weekly Wings: Yellow-Throated Warbler

April showers bring May flowers…and this year, warblers, too. It’s been a slow migration season so far, but now that Mother Nature has turned up the heat a little bit, waves of warblers have arrived in New York City.

From Central Park to Jamaica Bay, sightings have really picked up—CityBirder spotted 41 species in April alone!

One species making an appearance now is the yellow-throated warbler. Not a particularly common New York City bird (the Big Apple is the northern-most edge of its range), the lucky and observant among us will usually spot a few each season.

Check out this graphic to see the yellow-throated warbler’s migration pattern:

The migration pattern of the yellow-throated warbler.
Animation credit: Ebird.org (Click here for a larger version)

One thing to know about warblers is that they are tiny! The yellow-throated warbler measures in at only five inches long—clearly binoculars will aid you in your search. The top of the bird is a rather drab gray with a black and white facial pattern, but the throat glows a brilliant yellow.

Though they are tiny, their movements are generally slow and deliberate, which makes them easier to examine. They glean insects by prying into crevices as they creep along branches, and also use hawking to catch insects in flight.

Yellow-throated warblers have a cheerful song that is high-pitched and can be quite loud. They often sing perched high in treetops, where they can be hidden by foliage but are still easily audible. Click here to hear the song of the yellow-throated warbler.

Migration Madness: 1,600 Birds Killed by JFK Contractors

Photo credit: Nick Chill via Creative Commons
Photo credit: Nick Chill via Creative Commons

Wildlife control contractors have shot more than 1,600 protected birds at JFK over the past five years. In order to ensure the safety of passengers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey does have permission to shoot birds that interfere with flight patterns, but only seagulls, geese and mourning doves.

DNAinfo explains:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the airport, was granted limited permission to shoot “problem” species — mainly seagulls, geese and mourning doves — named on a special kill permit issued each year by the Fish and Wildlife Service.

But the authority’s own records show that between 2009 and 2013, they killed 1,628 birds from 18 different species that are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and are not named on the permits.

The protected birds that were shot include snowy egrets, red-winged blackbirds, and American kestrels. Normally, shooting species like this would result in a $15,000 fine or jail time.