Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bird a Day: Cape May Warbler

Today's bird is the lovely Cape May Warbler.  I found this female in my mom's front yard foraging for insects in the spruce tree.  You will normally find these birds around conifers during migration.  They breed in the boreal forest of Canada and southern United States.  Their life history is closely tied to the Spruce Budworm, their preferred food source.  They are so dependent on this worm (which is actually a caterpillar and actually feeds on Balsam Firs and not spruces) that populations will increase or decrease depending on the availability of Spruce Budworms.  They are considered a pests to foresters so the Cape May Warbler is a welcome sight to silverculturists.  This is one example of why birds are so vital to ecosystems and humans and why we should do everything in our power to conserve them.

Cape May Warbler Female

Cape May Warbler Female

Cape May Warbler Female

The female Cape May Warbler is less colorful than the male but just as beautiful.  She is yellow on her breast, face, sides and rump.  There are fine streaks running along her flanks and two wing bars on each wing.  The males are similar but have chestnut or orange brown cheek patches and are a brighter yellow.


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