Eastern Warblers Delight Front-Range Birders

It’s been a good month for life birds. I’ve seen three new warblers in the Denver metro area  in the past month: a prothonotary warbler, which is named after a Vatican official who wears yellow vestments; an immature bay-breasted warbler, which has a green back, gray wings with bright white wing bars, cream-colored underparts dusted with rose on the flanks, and faint “spectacles”—it was a stunning bird even in immature plumage; and yesterday an ovenbird, named for the shape of its nest. Ovenbirds produce a loud “teacher-teacher” song that is commonly heard in the eastern woods where most of them live, and I had heard that song in Colorado and elsewhere, but I had never seen one before. This one wasn’t singing because there was no need for it to defend a territory in winter. Someday I hope to see and hear an ovenbird at the same time.Ovenbird in Longmont, Dec 2013

Thanks to the CO-Birder in Longmont who let me and Todd into his house and gave us the run of his backyard. The bird was very cooperative, appearing within a few minutes of our arrivals. And the sharp-shinned hawk lunching on a starling was an unexpected sight.