Backyard Nature Wednesday: Warbler season

For the last couple of weeks, there has been a series of migrating warblers passing through my yard. They don't usually announce themselves. Fall migration is like a silent retreating army, with not a lot of singing like we hear in the spring.

When it comes to the fall warblers, they are mostly an army dressed in olive drab. Gone are the bright colors of spring and summer. These birds are not interested in calling attention to themselves.

For those two reasons - lack of singing and absence of bright colors - the visitors can be easily overlooked as they busily search the leaves for insects, unless one is making a special effort to look for them. But I've been lucky enough to see several of the little birds recently because I have a secret weapon - water.

I have a small fountain in my backyard and it gurgles and splashes with water and that is a magnet to the birds, especially to the warblers. Every one that I have seen recently has been visiting that fountain. And so it was again on Tuesday.

Fall warblers can be hard to identify at times because they are in their drab winter clothes and I really wasn't sure about the one I saw Tuesday. After consulting every guide book I own, I finally decided that it was probably a Nashville Warbler.

It was a tiny bird. I'm not too good at estimating sizes but I saw the bird next to a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which is about 3 3/4 inches long. This bird was not much bigger - probably about an inch. It had a very short tail and an eye ring but few other distinguishing marks. It was basically olive drab all over with just a hint of yellow on the breast and belly. Fortunately, I did have my camera handy.

Looking the fountain over to decide if it is safe.

Giving me the eye. Can't be too careful!

Trying a sip.

And taking the plunge!

After the bath.
This was a very active little bird. It spent several minutes in and around the fountain and took a dip repeatedly. It had had a long trip, maybe from as far away as Canada and it needed to wash off all the dust from its journey. I was seated twelve to fifteen feet away, but the bird did not seem concerned about my presence so I was able to enjoy a nice, long look.


  1. Gorgeous pictures Dorothy, what a lovely little bird.

    1. Warblers are really the rock stars of the bird family - wonderful little critters!


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