Friday, May 23, 2008


I’m beginning to find that, as much as I enjoy birdwatching throughout the entire year, the migratory periods are incredibly thrilling. The surprise of seeing a bird that you almost never get to see is just so much fun. We have had two of these recently here in Missouri. The first was a few mornings ago when my dad sent Aidan in to get me with the message that there was a bird outside that my dad had never seen before. That was enough to get me moving because there are few birds in the world that my dad has never seen before. Out in front of the house a small bird had mistakenly flown smack into the window and was sitting stunned on the sidewalk. When Aidan and I joined dad outside, the small bird actually let my dad pick him up and hold him in his hand. We were able to get right up to him and examine him at close range. We knew instantly that this was something out of the ordinary because he looked so different from any other bird that we were accustomed to. About a minute after my dad picked him up, the bird flew to a little tree right next to the house and just sat there on a limb, obviously gaining back some strength but also not ready for any extended flying. It was then that I ran in and grabbed my camera. I was able to get some fairly decent pictures of him but they don’t do his beautiful colors justice. He was the sweetest little bird. His size was a little larger than a wren, but not much. He ended up hanging out on that tree limb for about 30 minutes or so and then he finally flew away. Before we started looking in the bird books my dad and I both ventured a guess as to what he was. We both, probably not surprisingly, guessed that he was either some sort of a warbler (because they are common migrators) or a vireo. It was helpful having the picture of him to compare with the drawings in the bird book. I am very proud to share that we were right in our educated guess. What you see above is a common yellow throat warbler.

Our other migratory spotting has been a clan of rose breasted grosbeaks (we’ve now counted three pairs, male and female) that have essentially hunkered down in the backyard and proceeded to eat continually of our bountiful supply of safflower seed for the last three days. They must have one long leg of their journey left that they are beefing up for. That’s fine with us because they are beautiful to watch.

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