Our spring in Minnesota has been brutal for insectivores. Dozens of Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows have been found dead in nestboxes, having starved (or frozen?) to death during our cold, wet spring. Phoebes, which showed up more than a month ago, have been completely absent since our late snows and freezing temps. It's hard to survive when your primary food source isn't available.
In the last two weeks there have been days on end of "warbler fallouts" where they're basically littering the ground, searching for any morsel to eat. And any hint of sunshine brings the warblers out in full force, hunting for any bugs they can find. While it makes for great birding, it's sad to know that it's because they're struggling to survive.
On Sunday, we had this very curious Chestnut-sided Warbler follow us through the gardens. Can you ask for a more beautiful bird to stalk you? I think not.
He started flitting down to us as we were poking around in the wood chips searching for signs of emerging ferns and lupines. I imagine we were uncovering tasty morsels for him.
From there, he followed us to our "East Garden." As Dean looked over the plants that have emerged in that bed, the warbler flitted down right next to his feet and hopped from the garden up to a rock and back down again. It was amazing to have this gorgeous bird so close for so long.
It's been here for several days now, enjoying suet with the dozens of Yellow-rumpeds. As a special treat I picked up 1,000 mealworms on Monday for everyone. They were gone in a matter of hours much to the delight of the birds (and me who enjoyed watching them eagerly slurp them down like spaghetti noodles).
I included this photo because it shows the beautiful markings on the Chestnut-sided's back. I never realized how much yellow they have on their backs until this weekend:
After all our cold weather (there was frost on Sunday night) we hit a whopping 96 degrees today. Many of the warblers in our yard took advantage of the warm weather and moved on. I didn't see the Chestnut-sided at all today and there are only a couple dozen Yellow-rumpeds still hanging around.
Can't wait to see what the warm weather and high winds blows in overnight! Stay tuned...
Posted in conjunction with other bird aficionados through Wild Bird Wednesday. Be sure to check them all out!