Late migrant: orange-crowned warbler

The bird was feeding in the dead seed heads of asters and goldenrod this morning, chipping gently to itself.

Compared to other warblers, this species is scarce here. It breeds in the far north of Canada, then winters in the southern U.S., along the Gulf Coast and into Mexico.

I pulled its occurence data from ebird‘s new graphing tool. The graph below shows how the number of sightings in Tennessee varies through the year. I also included magnolia warbler to give a comparison to a more common migrant species. The orange-crowned warbler generally migrates later in the year and is much less abundant. Even by orange-crowned warbler standards, mid-November seems a bit late.

The seed heads of white heath aster seemed particularly popular choices for the bird’s attention. What tiny spiders, flies, and grubs hide inside these pea-sized flower heads?






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