Sunday, December 16, 2012

a pine out of season

Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)

Pine warblers, as a rule—and such rules are often amended, bent or pushed over a cliff—spend their winters south of my location: Georgia and the Gulf Coast states. But that may be changing.

My friend, Rikki Hall, recently commented, "I hear pine warblers out of season with growing frequency. They spend a lot more time high in the canopy, so they are harder to notice, but with climate change I think yellow-rumps are losing their claim to being the only wood warbler that overwinters in our area."

So, I've been watching for pine warblers out of season.

I told birding protégé Eliot to pay attention to the pines that tower over their apartment and listen for something that sounds like a chipping sparrow—a rather robust trill with a hint of being forlorn.

Last week, she spotted and then heard one, her first. A lifer.

Canadian author, radio host and musician Alan Watt is credited with coining a popular phrase more than a decade ago to describe the social, economic and political changes in society. But it applies here as well. 

Is this part of the "New Normal?" 

- Photo by Ken Thomas 

1 comment:

Dorothy said...

A day or two ago, I saw my first Pine Warbler of this season! We usually have them all winter here in north MS. This one landed on top of the feeder and then flew into the window! He was a little addled and I held him until he was able to fly away. We have lots of windows, and I don't want to have to put something on each one to keep this from happening. We really enjoy watching these pert little birds. His favorite thing is the cornbread crumbs I put in a plate on the table on the back porch :)