Black-and-white Warbler at my Window

Late this morning as I was coming down the stairs in our front hall, I saw a small black and white bird fluttering around a long, narrow, rectangular window over our front door. It was a female or juvenile Black-and-white Warbler, very slender and pretty, with sharp black and white striping on the head, and black wings with bright white wing bars. It was looking into the window and apparently trying to get through it, repeatedly fluttering up against the glass and moving all along the length of the window. It did not appear to be foraging for spiders or insects, but just trying to get through the glass – and most frustrated at this invisible barrier to wherever it wanted to go.

Not easily discouraged, the little warbler fluttered up again and again for more than five minutes, I think, maybe as long as ten. Several times it stopped and tilted its head, as if studying the situation and trying to figure this out. Then it would fly up again, trying every spot along the way before it finally gave up, turned its back on the impassable glass and flew away.

This is a small window, and I’ve never known of a bird flying into it, but maybe from the right position they can see through it and through the kitchen windows on the other side of the house – outside of which are flowering plants and ferns on the deck, and trees beyond that.

Although we usually have several Black-and-white Warblers here during the summer, this year I have not heard or seen any since the spring, until now. So it was fun to see this one, and particularly interesting to watch its persistence and puzzlement, its attempts to solve the mystery, and eventual deduction that this just wasn’t going to work.

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