Townsend’s Warblers usually spend their winters along the Pacific Coast or in Mexico and Central America. Typically, we’ve seen them in our yard only fleetingly as they migrate through. However, this year we have been fortunate enough to have one winter over with us. Seeing its bright yellow face and chest as it peers out from the suet feeder has been an almost daily delight.
With spring quickly approaching, I realized the other day that our Warbler will probably be leaving us soon. I moved the suet feeder a bit closer to the house so I could get a better picture, and I finally sat down with my bird books and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website (www.allaboutbirds.org) to learn a bit more about the bird before it leaves.
I thought our warbler was male, as its crown and throat look black when I see it at the feeder, however in my photos they seem more olive-green which would mean it is a female. If it were in Mexico or Central America, instead of eating our suet it would be foraging at the tops of trees and dining on “the sugary excretions of scale insects” (yum!).
Now it appears that my instinct to photograph the bird before it migrated was perfect, as I haven’t seen it at our feeders since I took these photos.