Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Sparked by various reports today, I ran out for a brief visit to our little habitat patch in urban Columbus, just outside my office. In no time, I saw American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, and the above, a Nashville Warbler, Oreothlypis rufacapilla.
Anyway, this bird's distinctly Tennesseean name stems from the Father of Ornithology himself, Alexander Wilson, who first collected this species near Nashville in 1811. It's not a very descriptive name, as Nashville Warblers don't breed anywhere near the Volunteer State - it is primarily a bird of boreal forest zones in the northern U.S. and Canada. They prefer scrubby successional growth as nesters, and this is THE common warbler in the young jack pine colonies where Kirtland's Warblers breed.
The majority of Nashville Warblers travel to central and southern Mexico for the winter, and that's probably where this bird will end up in a few weeks. Today, though, he gleaned insects from our box-elder trees and brightened my afternoon.