Northern Parula | Parker River NWR, Plum Island, Massachusetts | September | Canon 7D | Canon 400mm f5.6
A common sight in migration, Northern Parulas are one of our smallest warblers decked out in yellows, greens and blues. They can often be easily recognized even at a distance for their habit of searching for insects on the tips of the thinnest branches. The bird above, most likely a first year based on its plumage, lacks the normal blue coloring of the head which is just barely visible on its shoulder and its tail.
Carolina Wren | Turner's Pond, Milton, Massachusetts | February | Canon 7D | Canon 400mm f5.6
Although another incredibly tiny bird, Carolina Wrens somehow put out one of the loudest songs you can hear in suburban Massachusetts. Little balls of reddish fluff, with barely any visible appendages, they creep around in thorny thickets often only coming out to sing or investigate an odd noise. Pairs will often travel together, one singing and one uttering a rapid series of scold notes just as the first finishes singing. Although their songs vary, some of the common versions I hear are reminiscent of "toodly toodly toodly toodly" or "tree-eater tree-eater tree-eater tree".
Red-winged Blackbird | Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, Massachusetts | August | Canon 7D | Canon 400mm f5.6
Perhaps one of the most overlooked and misunderstood birds, female and juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds are often mistakenly identified as sparrows although they can be easily separated by their long bill, large size and incredibly thick and coarse streaking. Very secretive in the breeding season, females are complete opposites of the conspicuous males who sing and display in plain view. Females are often only seen diving into the reeds and letting burst a loud cackling call or silently patrolling the waters edge.
Header image (above):
Wilson's Snipe in Boston
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" I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn."
- Henry David Thoreau
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Weird things I've seen squirrels eating in my backyard:
• whole donut
• whole bagel
• snickers bar out of the wrapper
• whole potato
• Mass Audubon
• Friends of the Blue Hills
• Massachusetts Birding Listserv
• Maine Birding Listserv
• Rhode Island Birding Listserv
• Audubon Society of Rhode Island
• Massachusetts Young Birders Club