I heard a bird in my yard the other morning that didn’t sound like any of the regulars. Rather, it reminded me of the American Redstart I heard at 155 N. Wacker about a week ago – all along thinking there was a Common Yellowthroat hiding somewhere, until I realized it was the Redstart singing.
The bird downtown was pretty insistent – I think he was trying to get me to pay attention to him. The next day when I stopped by the little park at 155 N. Wacker, he was gone. So he was probably telling me to get a photo before he left, which I did.
Below, some badly lit shots of another adult male…
American Redstarts have a reputation for being hard to identify by song because they have so many different songs, or different dialects, and I have never really paid that much attention to their singing because they’re usually easy to identify with one flash of the tail.
But after hearing the bird in my yard, which unfortunately I did not see and because I had to go to work I couldn’t hang out long enough to look for it, I wondered if perhaps Redstarts might pass around a new “hit song” every spring – sort of like the Humpback Whales that come up with new songs they spread around, or like European Starlings that decide their new “hit” is to imitate a Killdeer, for instance, which was a phenomenon I observed a few years ago.
Below, some first-year males in transition. It’s interesting to see how the black and orange coloring is slowly coming in.
So I guess now I will be paying more attention to this bird’s vocalizations. It’s a reminder that I really should buckle down and learn to recognize more warbler songs anyway since half the time I am struggling to see them and don’t get a view worth noting otherwise.
Below is a female American Redstart. A bit duller in color than the first-year males.
Lots more birds to think about lurk in pictures I have taken through this peripatetic migration season. I will be back with more after the Memorial Day weekend.
I ‘ve not seen one in a long time, it’s a pretty bird to see flicking its tail while jumps from one tree branch to another. 🙂
Thanks for your input, H.J.! These guys are always plentiful here in migration but I’m beginning to not take anything for granted. 🙂
Interesting to hear about the song.
People always complain about Redstarts sounding like other warblers but nobody has ever suggested there may be a method to their madness.
Thanks Lisa. I always learn something from your posts.
Thanks, MaryLee. My teachers are the birds. 🙂
Nice pics! I haven’t seen any this year.
Thanks! Not too many left but you could still get lucky.