The warblers are back. They must have flown in with the last storm front this week and are just as busy as they were last spring flitting about the trees and shrubs in search of food. Since they don’t sing or chirp very much on their way south, I discovered the best way to find them was to listen for Chickadees making the “dee-dee” call. Every time I found/heard a flock of chickadees, I saw a variety of warblers with them.
It seems the warblers like to hang out with the local insectivores, forming mixed flocks of several species all cruising through the shrubbery and leaves together. Chickadee calls impart a wealth of information about the environment, especially the presence of potential threats, so perhaps migrating warblers rely on the local chickadee experts for information. In addition, more eyes to watch for predators equals greater safety.
Warblers are notoriously difficult to identify in the fall, mostly because they are not singing and the typical bright and distinctive male plumage may be dulled, looking more like the less distinctive female of that species. Adding juvenile birds into the mix further confuses us. So here’s a bird ID quiz.
Below are two photos of what I thought was two individuals of the same species.
What do you think? One species or two? List your reasons in the comments, and I’ll give you the answer tomorrow.