Yellow Bird

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You know you want a Yellow Bird too.

It’s a drink! A Caribbean cocktail for sipping on the back deck or patio while watching pretty birds.

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The Common Yellowthroat is a pretty bird to watch. Or listen to… witchety, witchety. But only in summer.

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You can watch Goldfinches all year round, around here.

My recipe for a batch of Yellow Birds to share. Mix in a pitcher and serve over ice.

  • 1.5 cups light rum
  • 3/4 cup creme de banane
  • 1/2 cup galliano
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1.5 cups pineapple juice
  • juice of 1 lime

Bonus bird: a (banded) Yellow Warbler spotted on the Isles of Shoals last May.

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Grab bag of May birds

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Brown-headed Cowbird at the top of the dawn redwood in our front yard.

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Gray Catbird at the edge of the red maple swamp out back.

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Common Yellowthroat takes off.

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Tree Swallow perches on the martin house “antenna.”

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Eastern Phoebe holds still for a moment.

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Red-winged Blackbird sings atop a maple at the edge of the swamp.

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Eastern Towhee, female, scuffling in leaves at the edge of the field.

Warblers abound

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Black-and-white Warbler, in the maple tree right off our back deck.

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Good morning, Common Yellowthroat.

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The male Common Yellowthroat has a black mask, the little bandido bug eater.

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Witchety, witchety, he says.

I saw three males near each other in the underbrush out by our pond this morning. I can hear even more out in the wet woods. A female spotted yesterday in the same area. I suspect some will migrate through and two or three pairs will stay around to nest.

Got some cute photos of an almost- fledgling last summer.

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Rain last night in the perfect amount. Sunny day ahead. Wild blueberries are blossoming.

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Walking the dog out past the pond around 7:15 a.m. I spotted a yellow bird flitting from branch to branch up high in a cherry tree. Distinctive song.

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It’s a Yellow Warbler.

I saw one for the first time last May on a birding trip offshore to Star Island, among the Isles of Shoals. (Here’s a Flickr photo album from that trip.)

This Yellow Warbler counts now as a Backyard Bird on my sidebar… number 48.

Males sing a sweet series of 6–10 whistled notes that accelerate over the course of the roughly 1-second song and often end on a rising note. The tone is so sweet that people often remember it with the mnemonic sweet sweet sweet I’m so sweet. The songs are a common sound of spring and early summer mornings and may be repeated as often as 10 times per minute.

8:50 a.m. BONUS

Just got some photos of an American Redstart in the woods next to our house! I saw two but heard more.

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A lively warbler that hops among tree branches in search of insects, the male American Redstart is coal-black with vivid orange patches on the sides, wings, and tail. True to its Halloween-themed color scheme, the redstart seems to startle its prey out of the foliage by flashing its strikingly patterned tail and wing feathers.

In between nestling and fledgling… groundling?

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Common Yellowthroat chicks are out of their nest in the undergrowth out by our pond, hopping around and calling for food from their parents.

Common Yellowthroats live in thick, tangled vegetation in a wide range of habitats—from wetlands to prairies to pine forests—across North America. Their breeding range stretches across most of the United States, the Canadian provinces, and western Mexico. Yellowthroats are most common in wet areas, which tend to have dense vegetation low to the ground, ideal for skulking and building hidden nests.

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Female Common Yellowthroat is calling and flying from bush to tree to reed, keeping an eye on her babies. The male was nearby too, but I didn’t get a photo.

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This chick is “hiding” in the daylilies, but it was easy to find because of its constant chirping.

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Parents are still feeding the chicks. I think there are 3 or 4 of them. It’s harder now that they are not all in one place!

Common Yellowthroats forage on or near the ground, eating insects and spiders from leaves, bark, branches, flowers, or fruit in low vegetation. Their diet includes bugs, flies, beetles, ants, termites, bees, wasps, grasshoppers, dragonflies, damselflies, moths, butterflies, caterpillars, and other larvae.

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“Are you my mother?” wonders frowning chick.

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The busy mom.

I didn’t stay long and I won’t bother them anymore today. Good luck, little birdies!

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Common Yellowthroat… looks like he’s up to something.

A broad black mask lends a touch of highwayman’s mystique to the male Common Yellowthroat. Look for these furtive, yellow-and-olive warblers skulking through tangled vegetation, often at the edges of marshes and wetlands. Females lack the mask and are much browner, though they usually show a hint of warm yellow at the throat.

I took this picture on Star Island last weekend (photo album HERE) but we have these warblers in our backyard too.

Yellowthroats are vocal birds, and both their witchety-witchety-witchety songs and distinctive call notes help reveal the presence of this, one of our most numerous warblers.