A Female Parula Warbler

About 10:00 this morning – a warm, sunny, breezy day, and very green all around – a female Northern Parula Warbler flew to a low branch of a water oak tree just at the edge of our back yard, and perched there in the open. She looked almost like a kinglet with her short tail and quick, darting movements – but then I saw her yellow throat and breast, blue-gray head and wings, two noticeably short, bright wing bars – and the indistinct white crescents around her eyes. She sat directly facing in my direction and immediately began to preen vigorously, raking the feathers on her breast and wings. After only three or four minutes of preening, she abruptly flew.

For several days now, since late last week, the buzzy trill of a Parula Warbler – whispery notes that rise up the scale and then quickly trip down at the end – has been lacing through the low branches of the woods, often frustrating close, but the singer has stayed invisible. It’s continuing to sing today, but now after seeing the female, I’m content just to listen and enjoy the male’s song.

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