Black-and-white Warbler

Still later in the afternoon, our back yard at home felt warm, drowsy and mostly quiet. Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zipped to and from the feeder, one chasing the other. An Eastern Phoebe hunted quietly. The chucks of a Red-bellied Woodpecker and day-day fussing of a Tufted Titmouse came from the woods, and an Eastern Bluebird sang in a neighbor’s yard. Cicadas, grasshoppers and other insects whined, chirped and buzzed. The distant cries of a soaring Red-shouldered Hawk could barely be heard.

In the low branches of a white oak at the edge of the woods, a female Black-and-white Warbler crept over the branches, a small, slender bird striped all over in a fine, varied black and white pattern, especially bold on the back and head, more muted on the under side. She caught a very long, wiggling, gray-green caterpillar and for several seconds, more than a minute, struggled to subdue it and eat it – and finally did. After a short pause, she flew to another oak nearby, where again she quietly, methodically crept over the trunk and large branches, searching the bark and leaves.

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