Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, Painted Redstart, Cape May Warbler, and Golden-cheeked Warbler by George Boorujy. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, Painted Redstart, Cape May Warbler, and Golden-cheeked Warbler by George Boorujy. Photo: Mike Fernandez/Audubon

Audubon Mural Project

Gang of Warblers by George Boorujy

Location: 601 W. 162nd St., New York, NY 10032

Read the full story behind the lead-up to the 100th mural.

Painted: 9/6/2018

Climate Threat: 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 see a major northward shift in its range, according to Audubon's climate models. More than half of its breeding and wintering habitat may turn over by 2080. The caterpillar-crazed Cape May Warbler is in similarly dire straits, with its range in northern forests being squeezed by climate change. The bird may be able to expand up to the Arctic, Audubon's models show, if its preferred spruces can break ground in the tundra. The Black-throated Green Warbler, a common Eastern species, is expected to see an even more drastic shift in its distribution; only 3 percent of its current range remains stable in the climate projections for 2080. Farther south, the muse-like Painted Redstart may have to grapple with a completely different landscape by 2080. By Audubon's estimates, its winter range will be transplanted to the upper fringes of Arizona and New Mexico. And finally, the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler, which nests exclusively in central Texas, might have to deal with an 89 percent loss of its current range. The juniper-oak scrub it occupies is tied to very specific soil conditions, limiting the plant's ability to colonize friendlier climates.

About the Artist: George Boorujy is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He's represented by P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York and is a member of the faculty of the Fine Arts Department of the School of Visual Arts. Follow him on Instagram.

The Artist on the Mural: There are many species of warblers, and some of them are very similar looking. I wanted to show some of those species like the Palm and Cape May Warblers and the Golden-cheeked and Black-throated Green Warblers. The differences in appearance are subtle, but they are very much unique species with nuanced habits, habitats, and ranges. I wanted to depict this group of warblers as a bunch of tough guys. Because they are tough guys. These little birds make massive migration journeys, some almost inconceivable for creatures so small. 

 I feel as though 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. 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.” 

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