Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Bright and early this morning, we made a stop at the edge of a field to call for turkeys. Steve has one of his two tags filled, Peter is tagged out, and I have zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nine days of hunting, sometimes twice a day, and I’ve yet to see a turkey close enough to even pick up the shotgun. Peter called but there wasn’t a turkey around interested in gobbling to a hen. They started talking (they say women talk a lot but seriously, we have nothing on men in that department) and kind of forgot what it was we were supposed to be doing. I heard a bird call I wasn’t familiar with, zoned in on it, and discovered this male chestnut-sided warbler. This is an addition on my birding life list, a first for me. Excuse the quality of the photos. He moved every few seconds and was 50 feet away. Birding is one of the reasons I desperately want a new camera.

Chestnut-sided warbler in an old tree early in the morning
Chestnut-sided warbler side view
Chestnut-sided warbler, white chest
Chestnut-sided warbler face on
Chestnut-sided warbler, breeding plumage
Chestnut-sided warbler, back to
A male chestnut-sided warbler is easy to identify. Its song told me it is a warbler. And its sides – chestnut colored. This was a simple one. The yellow forehead is easy to pick out in the trees and if you look closely, he has an unmistakable mustache. They frequent the sides of fields along the edge of the woods as they search for insects. It was cool this morning and the insects weren’t moving yet so he was busy moving from branch to branch and tree to tree.

I learned this morning that they over winter in Central America and return to the same area each spring to rejoin birds they know. It’s incredible. I can’t imagine knowing how to get back to the same area, or being about four inches in size and flying to Central America… Isn’t nature wonderful! So much energy in a little bird called chestnut-sided warbler.