Southern Agenda

Flight Patterns

Cerulean warblers and golden-winged warblers weigh a nickel and a dime put together. That’s all,” says Jane Capozzelli, an avian biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Despite their size, the two birds—along with a dozen other warbler species—make the journey from wintering grounds in Central and South America each spring, and Capozzelli rolls out the red carpet. She heads a state and federal program that encourages landowners to manage their properties in ways friendly to the threatened warblers. Owners benefit too; the young forest that golden-winged warblers need makes for perfect deer-hunting plots, and the cerulean warbler habitat of old-growth forest with giant trees and thick underbrush can coexist with sustainable timber harvest. Once they arrive in early to mid-spring, the birds select nesting spots and stick around for the summer. Before they head south sometime in August, fledglings in tow, keep an eye out for golden-wings in the Greenbrier Valley, and an ear tuned for the trilling song of ceruleans all over the state.