Read the full story behind the mural project's milestone of 100 painted species.
Sponsored By: Geraldine Shatz
About the Birds: As a family, warblers are important indicators of climate change across North America. With many species spanning the Canada, the United States, and the southern tropics during migration, the impacts of drier habitats, earlier seasonal blooms, and intense storms are magnified in the tiny songbirds. The Palm Warbler, for instance, is likely to shift much farther north, losing much of its current Canadian breeding grounds, according to Audubon’s climate models. The caterpillar-crazed Cape May Warbler will experience a similar, but even more severe, shift. Unfortunately, it may be limited by whether its spruce habitat can migrate too. The Black-throated Green Warbler, which currently breeds in the Eastern United States as far south as Georgia, will likely disappear from it entirely. Farther south, half of the Painted Redstart’s current summer range, in Mexico and a sliver of the southwestern United States, could become unsuitable for nesting. And finally, the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler, which nests exclusively in central Texas, would suffer from the degradation of its scrub habitat. If the juniper trees the bird nests in shift northward with changing climatic conditions, there’s a chance this unique bird will move with them.
About the Artist:
Artist George Boorujy explores humans’ relationship with the environment, especially our interaction with and perception of wildlife. He has exhibited widely nationally and internationally and is represented by P.P.O.W. gallery in New York. He appreciates that warblers have subtle visual distinctions—and so chose species that looked similar for this mural—but nuanced habits, habitats, and ranges. As for the composition,“I wanted to depict this group of warblers as a bunch of tough guys,” he says. “Because they are tough guys. These little birds make massive migration journeys, some almost inconceivable for creatures so small.”
Boorujy believes warblers in particular can be important ambassadors for conservation. “It’s often the spring migration of warblers, especially in the Eastern United States, that gets people interested and then hooked on birding,” he says. “This curiosity leads to learning about these birds, and the first step to caring about something is knowing about it. The fact that these birds live in multiple countries also encourages a broader view of conservation. If a birder in Ohio wants to see the return of ‘their’ warblers, they have to also be invested in preserving habitat in Central and South America and the Caribbean.”