Bright yellow, striped black and white, patches of blue — the vibrant colors and designs of warblers excite birders who get the treat of seeing them migrate through Iowa.
If you would like to check some birds off of your life birding list, join Dickinson County Conservation as it celebrates Wings and Wetlands Weekend with an annual Warbler Walk 8 a.m. Saturday, May 12.
“We will celebrate these migrating species and learn about why our area is important to them as they migrate north,” said Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator for the Dickinson County Conservation Board. “Although these birds don’t live here year-round, we offer an important habitat and are important to their life cycle.”
To join the Warbler Walk, meet at the Kettleson Hogsback access to Marble Lake. Bring your binoculars or borrow a pair from the conservation board during the approximately two-hour hike.
“It is really cool to see those species you don’t typically see,” Kuhlman said. “They are a quicker moving bird and are hard to get your eye on, so if you do see one, it is very rewarding.”
Local birder Ed Thelen will join the hike to help people spot tiny warblers high in the trees and to help identify which species they are.
“By inviting Ed along, we’re inviting his expertise of not only those birds but of other birds we may see along the way,” Kuhlman said.
Plus, warbler species each have different vocalizations, and Thelen is helpful in using those calls to identify the warblers that will be around.
“Having Ed along is very useful, because he’s able to pick up those calls among other bird species and hone in on where they would be,” Kuhlman said.
All ages are welcome to attend the Warbler Walk, although ages 8 and up may benefit most from learning about these birds and how to identify them.
Hikers will go approximately 1.5-2 miles along some hilly and muddy terrain, so be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
“People should come to enjoy a beautiful spring day and to learn about a hobby they may be interested in and to see some migrating birds — if they’re already into birding — to add to their list for the year,” Kuhlman said.
For more information on the Warbler Walk and other free Dickinson County Conservation Board program, call 712-336-6352 or visit our environmental education page. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.