Pine Warbler

This morning, yellow dandelions dotted the rough grass along the roadside, along with clouds of tiny bluets. It was a quiet, very warm morning with a pale blue sky and veils of high white clouds.

In a large pine tree on the edge of the woods, a small, sunny-yellow songbird worked its way along the branches directly above me, searching the needles and bark for insects and other small prey. Now and then it paused to lift its head and sing a lovely, expressive trill. It was a Pine Warbler, one of our year-round residents here, a songbird that is true to its name, staying mostly in the pines, with an olive-yellow back and head, and warm-yellow throat and breast, blurry olive streaks along its sides, and a thin, inconspicuous yellow ring around the eye. Its belly is dull white and its wings gray with white wing bars, but in general, what a male Pine Warbler looks like is yellow, not all over, but almost. On this softly sunny morning, against a background of green pine needles and gray woods, its color glowed.

Though Pine Warblers are common here in our patchy woodlands, I hear their trilled songs much more often than I see them, because they’re small and unobtrusive, staying mostly in the trees – though during the winter months, I do often find one or more foraging in a grassy yard along with other small birds. Today was an uncommon chance to have such a close-up and colorful view from below, and see into its world, in a way, watching for several moments as it foraged through the tree.

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