Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Curious, and Hungry, Chestnut-sided Warbler

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!

24 comments:

  1. That weather sounds terrible! and so sad that so many birds have not survived because of it. Great photos of a very beautiful little bird.

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    1. It was terrible, but we seem to have turned the corner :-) Thanks for the nice comments and for visiting, Mick!

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  2. Beautiful photos, Tami! He is so gorgeous!

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  3. Gorgeous little bird and so lovely colors... love it!
    Warm greetings from Holland,
    Anna :))

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Anna. Your photo blogs are beautiful!

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  4. What a sweet visitor. A beautiful and colorful warbler. Great shots.

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  5. Isn't it one of the prettiest warblers? I think so. We had them here in our area last month...now they've all left us. So your photo shares is like an extension of the migration season for me.

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    1. What a neat way of looking at blogs - to extend your own migration experience! Love it. Thanks for visiting :-)

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  6. I for one can only usually identify small birds on my computer where special features stand out quite surprisingly. It is lovely when a wild thing trust you to that extent. Wonderful experience.

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    1. Thanks for the nice note and for visiting!

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  7. What a great garden bird! My magpies may be interesting, but this one wins the "good plumage" competition!

    When you see them ripping up a bit of discarded BBQ meat you can see that they are a butcherbird kind of bird!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Greetings, Stewart! Thanks for visiting, and for hosting the wonderful WBW. After I finish here I'm off to read your newest post :-)

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  8. Such a pretty bird that warbler. Nice photos and that they were around to enjoy!

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    1. Isn't he a handsome little guy? Thanks for the nice comment and for visiting!

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  9. .....makes my heart skip a beat! What a BEAUTY!

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  10. This warbler is extremely colourful. I love that rusty-white-yellow combination in the feathers.

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  11. What a gorgeous warbler and how wonderful that it followed you around the garden! Terrific images.

    I hope your weather stays warm now. Our spring came late too.

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  12. Hi Tami.. How cool to be gollowed by a warbler..Those migrating birds sure can get hungry & tired! I once had a Rose Breasted Grossbeak land on the suet feeder & stay for a loong time & not care I was right there w/ my camera! Beautiful shots of a great bird! You are having a great back-yard bird year!

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    1. Thanks, as always, for your nice note Cindy :-) It has been an absolutely amazing year for birds in my yard. I don't keep a list, but off-hand I'd say I've already seen more new species of birds this year than any other in the past 12 that I've lived here...

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  13. How exciting! One of my favorites!

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