Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pic of the Day

Northern Parula Warbler, Setophaga americana:  Magee Marsh, Ohio
     Stopping for a moment during a feeding frenzy this Northern Parula Warbler sings it buzzy, "bzzzzz-zip" calls from a low hanging branch at Magee Marsh on the south side of Lake Erie.

     Audubon painted the Northern Parula under the name of "Blue Yellow Backed Warbler."  He sums up its behavior with this paragraph from his biographical sketch on the species.

Blue Yellow Backed Warbler
John James Audubon

     "This pretty species enters Louisiana from the south as early as spring appears, at the period when most insects are found closer to the ground, and more about water-courses, than shortly after, when a warmer sun has invited every leaf and blossom to hail the approach of that season when they all become as brilliant as nature intended them to be. The little fellow under your eye is then seen flitting over damp places, such as the edges of ponds, lakes, and rivers, chasing its prey with as much activity and liveliness as any other of the delicate and interesting tribe to which it belongs. It alights on every plant in its way, runs up and down it, picks here and there a small winged insect, and should one, aware of its approach, fly off, pursues it and snatches it in an instant."

     When I was spending months on end in the Big Woods of Arkansas attempting to document the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the Parula was one of the most common bird in the swamp during spring and early summer.  On sunny spring mornings the Parulas chased each other from tupelo trunk to canopy in breeding displays, interrupted occasionally as they nabbed insects form the spring-green leafs.  This warbler is widespread over most of eastern North America during the spring and summer months.  They breed in humid woodlands, usually along edges of ponds, lakes, and slow moving streams.

Hear the song of the Northern Parula on youtube at: