Archive for Warbler

American Redstart male 7/14/18

A common wood warbler, small and hyperactive, American Redstarts flash the brightly colored patches in their wings and tail to scare up insects, at least that’s one theory. Males are mostly black above with white bellies and orange patches, while females and immature males are more gray and green above with yellow wing and tail patches. They forage for caterpillars and other insects in the upper canopy but nest close to the ground in deciduous woods across southern Canada and Eastern US.

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Black-throated Green Warbler male 5/15/18

This little guy will sing “zhoo-zhee, zhoo-zhoo-zhee” several hundred times in just an hour. It’s not the first warbler song I learned but one of the first 5 that stuck, just because it’s easy to remember. You hear them sing more than see them, they’re often high up in the woodland canopy and once leaf out is past, they’re near impossible to spot.

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Yellow Warbler male 5/12/18

“Ching ching ching a-ling a-ling” is how I paraphrase this bright little creature’s song, though often it’s given as “Sweet sweet sweet I’m so sweet,” speeding up and rising in pitch near the end. You’ll often see and hear them in the shrubbery just along the shore, though they are found along streams, roadsides, and wet woody willow thickets all across Canada and the northern US. They are often brood-parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds and get tricked into raising a giant chick of another species.

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Common Yellowthroat male, 5/11/18

Common Yellowthroat males are the little zorros of wood warblers. Their bandit face masks set against a bright yellow throat make them easy to recognize, and their “witchety, witchety, witchety” song is also an easy one to remember. Typically you’ll find them around thickets and wetland areas, closer to the ground than other warblers foraging higher up in the canopy. Females and juveniles are more drab and lack the mask, but sometimes show hints of them and with paler yellow throats. They are curious birds and will respond to pishing.

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Wilson’s Warbler male 5/8/18

While yesterday’s Prairie Warbler was at the northern limit of its breeding range, the Wilson’s Warbler is at the southern limit, or more likely just passing through on its way to the Canadian boreal forest. This is more of an open forest bird, often found foraging near the ground or in the understory, especially in wetter areas. Again yellow below and olive-green above, the males have the unmistakeable black cap to go with their deep black eyes. Averaging between 4 and 4.5 inches, they are one of the smallest of the wood warblers.

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Prairie Warbler male 5/7/18

Warbler week kicks off with a Prairie Warbler male foraging for little insects while frequently wagging his tail. They have bright yellow faces and undersides marked with thin black stripes in the face and flanks, and have distinct rusty streaks on the more olive colored back which you just get a glimpse of in this photo. A denizen of forest edges and brushy old fields turning back to forest, they’re not at all a bird of the prairie, making it another of the more stupidly named American songbirds. Males have 2 songs, the first a set of fast ascending buzzy notes sung in early spring to attract a mate, after which the song drops in key and becomes longer and slower for defending territory and interacting with other males. I’d paraphrase it something like joo joo joo jer jer jer jee jee jee jee jee. Except for vagrants to the Canadian maritimes, southern Maine is the northern limit of their breeding range, primarily the southeastern US.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler juve 11/13/17

Yellow-rumped Warblers are the last of the migrating warblers to move through New England in any numbers, though even in November it’s not unusual to find stragglers of other species. This was one of a half dozen juves I found on the beach at Fort Foster, flitting down from a low tree branch or up from a piece of driftwood on the beach to catch brine flies on the wing, with astonishing acrobatics.

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