An unlikely catch

Golden-winged Warblers make a long journey every year that involves breeding in the Great Lakes region during the summertime and flying to Costa Rica to overwinter. 

But it often seems as though these birds solely belong to North America because, outside of this core breeding range, the populations have nearly disappeared completely. 

So, when bird enthusiast and Roger Tory Peterson Institute affiliate Sean Graesser caught the same Golden-winged Warbler two years in a row in Costa Rica, it was an unexpected and exciting surprise. 

Catching and banding the same bird — one that belongs to an imperiled species, especially — validates the work these researchers are doing. Understanding the seasonal migration of the Golden-winged Warbler to Costa Rica gives RTPI conservation staff the know-how to protect the wintering habitat the bird needs to survive and will hopefully aid in population recovery. 

This tiny bird's 9,000-mile journey is truly extraordinary, for more reasons than one, and has now been illustrated to more than 1,800 people. 

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