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Heaven Foretold: An 18 Warbler Fallout Starring the Cape May

May 20th, 2016 by Michael Dyet

Canada WarblerNashville Warbler

Hmmm, can I do justice in mere words to one of nature’s majestic performances?

We all have a passion. One thing above all else that brings us joy. And every passion comes with the dream day. Golfers dream of a hole-in-one. Fishing fanatics dream of an eight pound Largemouth Bass. Antique collectors dream of that once-in-a-lifetime find.

So what is the birdwatcher’s dream day? A fallout. No, not a falling out – a fallout. In birdwatching lingo, fallout refers to a mixed flock of migrating birds dropping out of the sky, almost as a single entity, to feed. A Warbler fallout is the ultimate high.

Picture yourself standing in a wooded area not moving while a dozen or more different types of brightly coloured Warblers flit around you in the trees, oblivious to your presence, in their frenzy to feed. This can last for a half hour or more.

It does not happen often. But when it does, it is mesmerizing. I happened upon an 18 Warbler fallout this week which took place, much to my surprise, at Heart Lake Conservation Area ten minutes from where I live. A full contingent of Warblers put on a majestic performance while I watched in a state of awe.

Any Warbler fallout is a treat. But an 18 Warbler fallout is a rare gift. The birds pictured above (not my photos – thanks Google Images) were participants in the performance.

It was made even more exhilarating by the presence of some of the most striking and/or hard to find Warblers that pass through this area. 

  • The stunning Blackburnian Warbler (aka the firethroat) with its flaming orange throat.
  • The majestic (and patriotic) Canada Warbler with its black necklace on a breast of gold.
  • The comparatively plain Blackpoll Warbler, black and white striped with a white face patch, which is among the more difficult Warblers to find.

And the crowning glory of the spectacle, a very hard to find Cape May Warbler. Cape Mays are washed in sunlit yellow with black streaking and a chestnut face patch.

If there is such a thing as a metaphor for heaven, for birdwatchers it is an 18 Warbler fallout with a Cape May in the starring role. This is as good as it gets for those of us who worship the winged wonders of nature. Truly, an experience I will never, ever forget.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel” – double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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