Tuesday, 14 April 2015

B.O.T.D. Pine Warbler

Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus)

The names of many birds are illogical, if not downright misleading, but in this case a more suitable one could scarcely have been chosen. Pitch pine, jack pine, Norway pine, red pine, white pine, scrub pine - very types do not figure prominently in their lives of pine warblers. Except during spring and fall migrations. these little birds are rarely spotted too far away from their favourite trees.

Their sturdy nests are found well out on a horizontal pine limb, hidden gin tufts of needles at the very tip of a branch or among a cluster of cones. They are built of pine bark, pine needles, and tiny pine twigs, all held together with spider or caterpillar silk (gleaned most likely from around the tree) and lined with plant down, fur, and feathers that also probably come from eh immediate vicinity.

The pine warblers' food consists mainly of the insects, spiders, and their kin whom the birds share the pine trees. Daily they scour the branches, twigs and needles and creep over the bark searching for their prey - not with the single-minded concentration of brown creepers, but in much the same manner, with their bodies pressed low and feathers brushing the bark. Sometimes their bright plumage becomes streaked with the pitch, or resin, that rubs off on them, and it is clearer that ever that these warblers are a product of the pines.

Reader's Digest: Book of North American Birds