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Warbler walks open eyes to nature around us: Audubon offers free birding field trips Tuesdays, Thursdays through May

By: John Myers, Forum News Service | May 19, 2019

Duluth naturalist Kim Eckert points out a bird along Park Point as Carol Thibault looks through her binoculars during Wednesday’s guided early morning warbler walk, sponsored by the Duluth Audubon Society. Eckert led the walk. Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service

DULUTH -- The veteran birders said it was a slow morning, but after less than 90 minutes of walking around Park Point in Duluth, we had seen more than two dozen species of birds.

“I think that was number 24 or 25,’’ said Shannon Robertson as she checked off a ruby throated-kinglet, bufflehead ducks and red-breasted mergansers on her bird list. Usually, the experts said, it would be at least 40 or 50 species in any given morning.

Robertson, a long time birder and repeat customer on these free birding field trips offered by the Duluth Audubon Society, said the morning count paled in comparison to the 80 species of birds she counted on the previous Wednesday morning on a trip in the Sax-Zim bog north of Duluth.

“But, considering how few warblers we saw, it’s still a good morning,’’ Robertson said. “I love group birding. You see more birds when you have more sets of eyes and ears… And it’s a social thing. It’s fun to experience this with other people.”

On a warm, sunny morning last week, Robertson was part of our group of 18 birders — some newbies, some veterans — to take part in the so-called Audubon “warbler walks.” The walk, which started at the Park Point Beach House (and another like it each Thursday in western Duluth) is aimed at seeing the great northward migration of warblers, tiny passerines or songbirds that fly thousands of miles from tropical climates, many to nest in Northland forests.

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