I spent the morning of Saturday, August 12, in Apopka, hoping to find some new-to-me birds. The jury is still out on that (more to come), but I did come across some Prairie Warblers, a bird I’ve only seen once before.
That was back in February at the Orlando Wetlands, during a trip when the Prairie Warbler sighting took a backseat to seeing a Painted Bunting for the first time. (They were literally just six feet away from each other.)
I also have to say, that whenever I hear “Prairie Warbler,” I think of “Little House on the Prairie” and the Midwest. But this little yellow and black bird is a year-round Florida resident, and it doesn’t even migrate too far out of the Southwest and Atlantic Coast.
“The dapper black and yellow Prairie Warbler is a lively resident not of prairies, but of scrubby second-growth forests and young stands of pine,” Cornell Lab’s All About Birds website reports. “Slender and elegant, with a constantly flicking tail, the Prairie Warbler likely benefited from the mass clearing of eastern forests following European colonization of the Americas.”
Even though they are very small – only 4 inches in length and weighing 0.2 to 0.3 ounces – they can be easy to spot if you’re looking. Their bright yellow coloring gives them away against brown trunks and limbs and dark green leaves.
I saw them in two areas in Apopka on Saturday: Along the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and at Magnolia Park along Lake Apopka. I wish the photos were better, but these little, fast-moving birds are a challenge to photograph.