the singer, the squawker, and the silent partner

I carried the big telephoto around for several hours yesterday, visiting several locations at which I had previously seen quite a few warblers, but I came up with a very short list of birds.  The resident orioles, song sparrows, goldfinches, cardinals, and even catbirds were quite obliging — all singing away, but the warblers (except one you’ll see below) were sadly absent.

The best and most persistent singer of the bunch was the Yellow Warbler, a bird fond of willows and low shrubs, where it usually advertises its presence in a bold manner by shouting out “here I am — aren’t I beautiful?”

yellow warbler

At least the bird was in front of the sticks, instead of behind them…

yellow warbler

And yes, this was a particularly handsome male Yellow Warbler, who is looking a bit chubby from those fluffed out feathers.  It was a cold. windy morning.

The Squawker was an Eastern Kingbird, who sat on an eye level branch about 50 feet away, giving me the once over. But the bird was not shy about diving after an insect or two and then returning to exactly the same branch.  I took at least 20 nice photos, but only one in which the bird opened its mouth to give its characteristic buzz-squawk call.  The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several recordings of the pleasant songs Kingbirds sing — but perhaps this was a female, or  a non-territorial male.

eastern kingbird

“buzz-squawk” — feathers all fluffed out to keep warm, even tucking them over its bare toes.

eastern kingbird-

Good looking in any position.

American Goldfinches males are usually vociferous singers, loudly proclaiming their breeding status to all around them.  I must have gotten too close, because he half-turned, looked shyly away from me, and then made a dive for cover in the nearby bushes.

american goldfinch

This bird had nothing to say — he was all looks and no voice.

Better luck next year…maybe the warblers will stop in for a day or two then.

5 thoughts on “the singer, the squawker, and the silent partner

  1. I especially love that first warbler shot. The bird seems to embody a sense of unhibited joy and enthusiasm as he uses his whole body to produce a beautiful sound.

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