Saturday, September 15, 2012

redstarts passing

Female redstart

Still at home recuperating, living vicariously through others.

American redstarts are passing through the Tennessee Valley on their way south to their winter home in the tropics. (Oh, to be so lucky.) Or at least the females are. I saw one flitting through the trees near the back deck (my recupertorium) yesterday. I spoke to Eliot late last night, she had seen females as well. She also spotted her first black-and-white warbler—a lifer for the young talented birder—and a blue wing near her driveway. 

Redstarts have a curious way of flashing their tails, revealing bright tail feathers: yellow on the females and orange on the males, plus markings at the armpits, well wingpits, but you get my drift.

In the tropics they're known as Christmas birds because of the festiveness they bring to the holiday, or as "latrine birds" because of their propensity of hanging around outhouses searching for the insects attracted to the malodorous locations. 

The former sobriquet is a little more appealing than the latter, don't you think?

1 comment:

Marie said...

It's so funny sometimes the monikers we attach to birds or animals. I wonder about the redstart's actual name...I see no red on this bird. Great photo.