Magic Month Bird Walks at Rose Creek Nature Preserve

Guided walks with birders and naturalists during the spring transformation on the Palouse.

A Tree Swallow perches near her nest box on the edge of Rose Creek Nature Preserve. Photo by Casey Lowder.

May is a time of peak migration for many species of birds that are synchronized with the dramatic change in the botanical world – from brown to green, from bud to bloom.

Sign up for a walk

Saturday May 7th with Karl, Saturday May 14th, and Wednesday May 18th with Bonnie and Casey

Participation is limited to five people per guide.

Binoculars are highly recommended. We have a few pairs of binoculars available to borrow.

The focus will be on finding and watching birds, but botanical and other natural happenings will also be enjoyed. All five of the warblers that migrate through our region may be seen or heard on these walks.

From left to right: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Townsend’s Warbler

Below are photos captured at Rose Creek of some other species we may encounter.

 Rose Creek Nature Preserve is owned and operated by the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI). Thanks to the Rose Creek Advisory Committee for supporting the production of the bird guide.

About the warbler images

All the images here were captured at Rose Creek Nature Preserve, Whitman County, Washington, 2020 by Casey Lowder or Bonnie Gunn.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are one of the earliest migrants since they winter farther north than all other warblers. In fact, some Yellow-rumped Warblers spend the winter in the nearby Lewis-Clark Valley. An adaptation that allows them to feed on fruit and berries allow them to overwinter in colder climates where there are few insects in the winter.

Orange-crowned Warblers are a common example of a bird with a name that isn’t very accurate for most individuals. You rarely see any hint of orange in these birds. They are one of the least colorful of the warblers in our region but are still a joy to see and hear during migration.

Yellow Warblers favor riparian habitats so they are commonly seen in the vegetation growing on the banks of Rose Creek. These warblers breed in our region so in addition to the many migrants that will stop by, Rose Creek Preserve is likely to host a couple breeding pairs this summer.

Common Yellowthroats are bold little warblers in color and in attitude. They are commonly seen around the banks and in the lowland thickets at Rose Creek throughout May and June. A pair or two will likely nest within the preserve this spring.

Townsend’s Warblers are beautifully patterned in high contrast yellow, black and white. These warblers are relatively abundant in the riparian and forested areas of the Palouse during the month of May. By June all of the Townsend’s Warblers will have left for their breeding areas in higher elevations and latitudes.

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