Prothonotary Warblers: FAQs and First Sighting Contest

With the spring season right around the corner, migration is fast approaching. And with spring migration, comes the return of Prothonotary Warblers to the swamp!

Each year, Beidler staff join together in a friendly competition to see who can predict what day the Prothonotaries will return to our boardwalk. This year we thought we would extend that competition to all that want to join! 

Follow the link to enter your guess for what day we’ll have the first Prothonotary Warbler sighting at Beidler. Hint: the first sighting last year was March 29th. Winners will be entered into a drawing to win a special prize!

If you visit and think you see/hear the first Prothonotary Warbler, please take a photograph or audio recording so that a staff member can confirm the sighting (we have to be thorough…there is a prize after all!). Call the visitor center and a staff member will assist with confirmation.

If you would like to participate in our ongoing research of Prothonotary Warblers at Beidler Forest, let us know where you’re getting sightings from the boardwalk. Take note of the small quarter-size numbered markers along the hand rails; that gives us a good idea of where you are located. Also, pay attention for any bands that may be on their legs and what color they are. Please feel free to send any sightings to Or, if you use an app like eBird, record your location and observations in your comments; you can even upload photos to your eBird checklist. 

Below you can also find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Prothonotary Warblers!

  • When do Prothonotary Warblers arrive at Beidler?  They most often arrive between the end of March and the beginning of April.
  • When do they begin nesting?  They start nesting in mid-April, but the best time to see them is from late-April through early June.  At this time, parents can be seen bringing food to the nestlings.
  • Where’s the best place to see them?  Anywhere along the boardwalk!  Specifically, wooden marker numbers 3-11 are great places to look.
  • How long will they stay?  Most birds become less active around the boardwalk by late-June, though some individuals can be seen as late as September. 

    What date do you think Prothonotary Warblers will return? Guess the date here! 


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