Confusing Fall Warbler

Mystery Bird

I went downtown early yesterday to see what the wind blew in. There were predictably a lot of sparrows, although most evaded my lens. However I ran into this warbler at the Lurie Gardens in Millennium Park and took several pictures without really thinking about it until I downloaded them and started getting confused. So I drag out the books: The Sibley Guide to Birds, Warblers of the Americas, the Peterson Field Guides Warblers.  There is such a thing as too much information.

There are a lot of drab-looking birds with yellow on the vent and throat this time of year. Well, at least a few came to mind. Could this be a female Common Yellowthroat?

Or even a juvenile Yellow Warbler? Wait, brownish maybe, but not all the feathers are edged in yellow…

Too much of an eye-ring for a Yellow. But it doesn’t look like a Nashville either… and then, the bird gave me my best clue in a subsequent frame.

The only warbler with yellow in the tail is…a Redstart. This is a first year Female American Redstart. I’ve never seen one with hardly any color on the wing before. Wow. Learn something every time I go out. I think I’ve been paying closer attention this fall.

First-year Female American Redstart

Now that smirky little face makes sense to me…I recognize that look. How could I ever forget this is a Redstart? The gizz starts to fill in immediately. But just in case I forget, she reminded me one more time.

4 thoughts on “Confusing Fall Warbler

    • Thanks, Bob, for your gracious compliment! it seems the more I bird, the less I know…but I’m always grateful for the opportunity to learn more from birds. They never fail to surprise me.

      • I think you are doing quite well, Lisa. It is quite a learning experience. I know that I have come a long way, but there is so, so much more to learn. For example, in your bird, I would have never have gotten far enough in trying to ID it, to think about those yellow tail feathers, like you did. You did a great job of deducing the final result. But, “ain’t it fun”? 🙂

  1. It is fun. Actually when these birds come through and they’re flitting around in leafed-out trees, most of the time all we do see of them is their tail feathers! So I learned more this year about how to identify first year vs. adult and male vs. female (first-year males looking a lot like females) than I knew was possible. But if I didn’t have the camera shots to review it would take me a lot longer to get a handle on this. And I could still be wrong. =)

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