Best Spots To See Warbler Migration

Canada Warbler Photo Credit: Deborah Rivel
When warblers make their way north from Central America in spring, they follow time-honored migratory pathways. Their timing and location depends on a variety of factors including weather, geography and food supply. But arrive they will each spring. And if you want to set yourself up for the best views of the most warblers this year, there are some tried-and-true locations across the US you can rely upon to visit and be awed.


Ready to add some new birds to your list? Check out some of these top sites:


1 – Central Park, New York City, NY has been cited by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top places to see spring migration in North America.  As someone who birds this park regularly, I can attest to its attraction for warblers and other migrants.  The Ramble is a warbler “trap” in May and there can be some fallout days that are a surprise in an urban area.


2 – Magee Marsh in Ohio, is a prime refueling stopover for migrantsbefore making their way across the Great Lakes.  There can be thousands of warblers seen in a single day here, and many dedicated birders who return every spring to this hotspot.


3 – Point Reyes National Seashore, CA is a coastal bird stopover which is a haven for warblers as well as shorebirds and pretty much anything else you want to see that migrates along the Pacific Flyway. You may not get huge flocks of warblers, but you will see dozens of species of them and it’s an extraordinary all-around birding experience.


4 – Sabine Woods, Texas is another well-known warbler attractor. Depending on the weather here, since the birds are flying over the Gulf of Mexico, there can be huge fallouts during spring migration when flocks of birds battling weather over the Gulf find land, and fall exhausted out of the sky.


5 – Chico Basin Ranch, CO is another stopover for warblers as well as other migrants.  It is literally an oasis in a dry area making it an attractive rest stop for tired birds.  Follow the trails for some rexcellent spring birding.
There are other well-known warbler hotspots, and this article by Cornell Lab of Ornithology reviews some these locations.  Want to find your own warbler hotspot? There’s advice on that, as well.