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The signs of spring continue to grow, and one of the signs of spring that is often overlooked is when the warblers start to show up. If they have not started to show up in your area already, they will be soon.

Unfortunately, we often pay scant attention to the smaller birds in and around our homes and other areas. Some even dismissively refer to them as “LBB’s “or little brown birds." However, many of those little brown birds have some interesting coloration and markings. And it you take the time to look closely at the small birds flitting around in the trees and shrubs this time of year, you will soon realize that many of them are warblers, and warblers are known for their bright and interesting colors.

Warblers are typically a little bit smaller than the sparrows we often see. One of the more commonly observed warblers of spring is the yellow-rumped warbler. Some of you may have learned this bird as the Myrtle warbler. It is bluish-gray with a bright yellow patch on the rump, as well as on the top of the head and on the wings.

The yellow warbler is another common warbler during the spring. As the name implies, they are yellow with the back being a yellowish-green color. Males also have reddish streaks on the breast.

Some of the warblers will migrate through our area and nest further north in the northern coniferous forest. However, a few species will stay and nest in the state, but of course they will be much more difficult to observe once the trees and shrubs are fully leafed out. So now, before the trees leaf out is the best time to observe them.

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of “Natural North Dakota” and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005 he has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for North Dakota’s newest newspaper, the Lake Metigoshe Mirror. His columns also appear under “The Naturalist” in several other weekly newspapers across North Dakota.
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