The first signs of the end of summer

A worm-eating warbler was feeding in the shrubs outside our kitchen window this morning. Worm-eating warblers breed in the forest, never in town, so the bird’s presence here was a surprise and a sign that post-breeding dispersal has started. After they have bred, many species of bird wander through habitats that they would never breed in. This warbler is likely one of these amblers, drifting through the thickets in backyards now that its woodland nesting is complete. Next stop: the Caribbean or Mexico for the fall and winter.

Worm-eating warbler, Helmitheros vermivorum, photographed from my kitchen table. This is one of my favorite species -- an unassuming bird with subtle beauty and an unwarbler-like dagger for a beak.

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