A Pine Warbler’s Song and a Curious Yellow-rumped Warbler

On a cold, clear morning, four Mourning Doves stood and slipped on the icy surface of the birdbath and sipped at small spots of melted water. As Christmas approaches, the days have been busy, and there hasn’t been much time to spend outside, but this morning I took about ten minutes just to stand on the front porch with binoculars and look around, and listen.

A Pine Warbler sang from a scrubby, wooded area on the edge of our front yard. The song sounded a little different from the usual musical trill, adding a note or two each time at the end of the trill.

Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and one Downy Woodpecker came and went from the feeder, then a Chipping Sparrow joined them – and then a big Red-bellied Woodpecker flew up and temporarily displaced them all. A Dark-eyed Junco and a pair of Northern Cardinals foraged for seeds under the feeder. One Carolina Wren sang, and another flew to the feeder after the Red-bellied Woodpecker had flown away. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet stuttered jidit-jidit, moving through the bushes.

An Eastern Phoebe perched on a small shrub near the road, bobbing its tail; American Crows flew over, some cawing; a Blue Jay perched in the wax myrtle hedge; a Brown-headed Nuthatch squeakily chattered in the pines.

Several Yellow-rumped Warblers flitted from branch to branch in the trees – then one began to come toward me, making its way through low branches of nearby trees. It seemed to be watching me, and coming toward me on purpose, as if it were curious. As it got closer and closer, it chirped in a fuller, more musical kind of call than its usual dry flight chip. It moved through a water oak, then into the Savannah holly right beside me until it came quite close, paused there and cocked its head as if getting a good look – then it flew away.

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