ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises

aboutbirds.dunway.com

The origin of birds has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years, but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.

A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960's by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships.

The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs.

ALL ABOUT BIRDS - ARTICLES

PHOEBE - DOWNY WOODPECKER - YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER
GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER - BLACKPOLL WARBLER - CHIMNEY SWIFT - KINGBIRD
THE CHEWINK - SNOWFLAKE - ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK - BOBOLINK - WOOD PEWEE

BIRD WATCHING - BASIC INFORMATION

All About Birds [Articles] Identify Birds All About Birds [Articles] Bird Watching All About Birds [Articles] Bird Guide All About Birds [Articles] WildBirds

A Guide To Bird Neighbours - Part 6

A faint "screep, screep," like "the noise made by striking two pebbles together," Audubon says, is often the only indication of the blackpoll's presence; but surely that tireless bird-student had heard its more characteristic notes, which, rapidly uttered, increasing in the middle of the strain and diminishing toward the end, suggest the shrill, wiry burn of some midsummer insect.

After the opera-glass has searched him out we find him by no means an inconspicuous bird. A dainty little fellow, with a glossy black cap pulled over his eyes, he is almost hidden by the dense foliage on the trees by the time he returns to us at the very end of spring.

Giraud says that he is the very last of his tribe to come north, though the bay-breasted warbler has usually been thought the bird to wind up the spring procession.

The blackpoll has a certain characteristic motion that distinguishes him from the black-and-white creeper, for which a hasty glance might mistake him, and from the jolly little chickadee with his black cap.

Apparently he runs about the tree-trunk, but in reality he so flits his wings that his feet do not touch the bark at all; yet so rapidly does he go that the flipping wing-motion is not observed. He is most often seen in May in the apple trees, peeping into the opening blossoms for insects, uttering now and then his slender, lisping, brief song.

Vivacious, a busy hunter, often catching insects on the wing like the flycatchers, he is a cheerful, useful neighbor the short time he spends with us before traveling to the far north, where he mates and nests.

A nest has been found on Slide Mountain, in the Catskills, but the hardy evergreens of Canada, and sometimes those of northern New England, are the chosen home of this little bird that builds a nest of bits of root, lichens, and sedges, amply large for a family twice the size of his.

BLACK-AND-WHITE CREEPING WARBLER
(Mniotilta Varia)
Wood Warbler Family

Called also: VARIED CREEPING WARBLER; BLACK-AND WHITE CREEPER;
WHITEPOLL WARBLER; [BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, AOU 1998]

  • Length - 5 to inches. About an inch smaller than the English sparrow.

  • Male - Upper parts white, varied with black. A white stripe along the summit of the head and back of the neck, edged with black. White line above and below the eye. Black cheeks and throat, grayish in females and young. Breast white in middle, with black stripes on sides. Wings and tail rusty black, with two white cross-bars on former, and soiled white markings on tail quills.

  • Female - Paler and less distinct markings throughout.

  • Range - Peculiar to America. Eastern United States and westward to the plains. North as far as the fur countries. Winters in tropics south of Florida.

  • Migrations - April. Late September. Summer resident.

Nine times out of ten this active little warbler is mistaken for the downy woodpecker, not because of his coloring alone, but also on account of their common habit of running up and down the trunks of trees and on the under side of branches, looking for insects, on which all the warblers subsist.

But presently the true warbler characteristic of restless flitting about shows itself. A woodpecker would go over a tree with painstaking, systematic care, while the black-and-white warbler, no less intent upon securing its food, hurries off from tree to tree, wherever the most promising menu is offered.

Clinging to the mottled bark of the tree-trunk, which he so closely resembles, it would be difficult to find him were it not for these sudden fittings and the feeble song, "Weachy, weachy, weachy, 'twee, 'twee, 'tweet," he half lisps, half sings between his dashes after slugs.

Very rarely indeed can his nest be found in an old stump or mossy bank, where bark, leaves. and hair make the downy cradle for his four or five tiny babies.

About Birds - Site Index

Bird Neighbors - Part 1 - Bird Neighbors - Part 2
Bird Neighbors - Part 3 - Bird Neighbors - Part 4
Bird Neighbors - Part 5 - Bird Neighbors - Part 6
Bird Neighbors - Part 7 - Bird Neighbors - Part 8
Bird Neighbors - Part 9 - Bird Neighbors - Part 10

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