Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yellow Birds — Warblers and Western Kingbirds

Birds this week: Yellow Warblers in Moose Jaw and Western Kingbirds in Regina.

The male warblers in Moose Jaw's Crescent Park were a vibrant yellow, almost sparkling in the sun, which reflected gold off their beaks, as well. The female was a duller, slightly greenish shade, and stayed deeper in the branches.

Yellow warbler in tree - photo by Shelley Banks
I was startled by how bright they were! © SB
There were at least three Yellow Warblers in the flock — more, I think, but they flew so fast it was difficult to keep track of them. They're tiny, too (about four inches), which didn't help.

Seen from below, the adult Western Kingbird in Regina's Les Sherman Park was a soft, clear, lemon-sherbet yellow. These birds are fairly large (about eight inches, or robin-size). The one I saw was agitated, calling kip kip kip, perhaps to signal that I should stop standing near its nest, where at least one hatchling was waiting to be fed. (The nest was safe from me; I can't climb trees.)

Western Kingbird - photo by Shelley Banks
This guy was _very_ hard to catch by camera!  © SB  

Crammed into a notch, the nest was clearly visible from the edge of path. Once I knew it was there, at least. (Which I wouldn't have, if the adult hadn't started that kip kip kip call as soon as I walked by.)

The Western Kingbird nest in the notch  © SB 

I hadn't realized what good camouflage such striking yellows would be. Looking up into the leaves, it was difficult to see where either the warblers or the kingbird had landed, as they blended so well into the colours of new leaves in sunshine.  

Yellow Warbler - photo by Shelley Banks
Female (or immature?) warbler, imitating leaves.   © SB 

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