Monday, December 8, 2014

Pine Warbler in for the winter

This morning as I stepped out my door, a familiar smacking note came from the three tall pines across the street.

Pine Warbler.

Pine Warblers are scattered throughout residential New Orleans in winter, and although they are not strictly limited to areas where mature pines are present, they certainly are much more often found where some are present.  Even a mere handful of tall pines- perhaps just three or four- seems to be enough to coax one into spending the winter.

Male Pine Warblers are sharp-looking, green above, with bright yellow breast and throat, and two crisp white wingbars.  To me, they bear more resemblance to a Yellow-throated Vireo to any other warbler- but the latter are not around in winter so don't create confusion this time of year.  Female Pines are duller: browner above, with dingier and more restricted yellow below.  Immatures are also dull, with some so muted that they appear essentially gray-brown above (with wingbars) and off-white below.

Pine Warblers nest commonly on the North Shore, where they are present and widespread the year round and often venture into yards from surrounding pine stands.   South of Lake Pontchartrain, they are exclusively a winter visitor, with us till March or April.

Good birding!


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