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Want to spot a Colima warbler in the United States?
If you can follow the call through the dry oaks to its source--a small brownish bird with a yellow rump and white eye ring--you've found the Colima warbler, and for that moment you're the King of American Birders.
The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park also fall into this category, and because these peaks are the only place to find the Colima warbler in the United States, a visit to the park is on every devoted birder's bucket list.
I leapt at the opportunity to visit a national park I'd never seen and the chance to see the legendary Colima warbler. With the excitement came nervousness: The trip was scheduled for the second week of April, about a week or two before Colima warblers are seen with regularity in the park.
Ornithologically speaking, the Colima warbler isn't anything to write home about.
Despite the Colima warbler's unspectacular appearance, its unusually limited range is enough to support a small but stable economy catering to birders on a mission to see every American species.
Some of the birds that can be found there typically do not occur elsewhere in the country and include the colima warbler, Lucifer hummingbird, band-tailed pigeon, varied bunting, flammulated owl, elf owl, Mexican jay, black-chinned sparrow, green kingfisher, pyrrhuloxia, and crissal thrasher.
For instance, the Colima warbler occurs nowhere in the United States other than Big Bend National Park.