Saturday, July 26, 2014 Warblers in Willow

Seward, Alaska

Just when it seemed like all the songbirds had abandoned Seward, I found a Sitka Willow bustling with a family of TOWNSEND'S WARBLERS, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, a BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, and PINE SISKINS. The female tree was loaded with tiny insects and the birds were only too happy to perform extermination services.

I watched a Pine Siskin glean a black insect from the underside of a willow leaf. The Chickadee pounded a small dead branch with its tiny bill, then extracted an insect larva for lunch. The Townsend's Warblers chipped constantly, as they flitted from one branch to another, snacking and remarking on the bounteous feast.

An Orange-crowned Warbler perched precariously on a nearby cow parsnip, upside down, sideways, and on top, gleaning insects from among the developing seeds.

Two speckle-breasted young ROBINS hopped about in the grass, looking for invertebrates, happy to find a worm.

It was quite an unexpected treat to both hear and see these busy songbirds. I hope the willow feast will fuel them for many miles on their journey south.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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