Louisiana Waterthrushes nest along dark wooded streams, often line by hemlocks in the Northeast and Appalachians and flowing through wooded swamps in the southeast. The habitat of the bird and its ringing, cascading song makes it one of the great warblers to seek out. It winters in Mexico and northern Central America, and is rare as far south as western Panama.
It is one of the very early migrant warblers, and in the mid-Atlantic it joins Yellow-throated as one of the Neotropical migrants that can arrive as early as March. Look at its arrival in Texas in early March. The map of its breeding range is generally accurate, but has some problems. They don’t breed in the Black Hills and are very rare north of southernmost Maine. They aren’t a common bird in the Adirondacks. The areas of high concentration are largely accurate, and it is an ongoing research issue to improve the maps for more rarely reported birds like Louisiana Waterthrush, Cerulean Warbler, and Hermit Warbler.
Despite the faults in the breeding range, notice how accurate the timing is. The arrival dates are highly accurate and the fall departure, which is well underway by June is largely complete by the end of July. although a few birds may linger in some breeding areas to mid-August, and a very few birds may be found in migration, this is a species that departs incredibly early. eBird reviewers rigorously review all reports in August and September (or later), when Northern Waterthrush is a major ID concern. The result is that the migration timing is accurately shown here, despite the relative rarity of the species. Early migrants like Louisiana Waterthrush are often missed by birders, who change their behavior and birding sites in summer to focus on breeding birds and water birds and may miss birds like Louisiana Waterthrush that pass through in July and early August.