BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

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YELLOW PALM WARBLER; YELLOW REDPOLL. Dendroica palmarum hypochrysea [Setophaga palmarum hypochrysea].
[Sub-especies of Palm Warbler also known as Eastern or Yellow Palm Warbler]
5.43 in.

Ad. in spring.— Crown chestnut; back brownish; under parts bright yellow; sides of throat, breast, and sides of belly streaked with reddish-brown; no white wing-bars. Ad. in fall and Im.— Crown-patch concealed; under parts as above.

Nest, on the ground. Eggs, buffy white, speckled with brown.

The Yellow Palm Warbler or Yellow Redpoll is a migrant through New England and New York, appearing in April and early May, and again in September and early October. It breeds sparingly in open juniper-bogs in northern and eastern Maine (Knight). In spring it is a bird of stone walls, bushes, and low trees, feeding often on the ground. Its song resembles that of the Chipping Sparrow, but is less strong even than that simple performance. It is often associated in migration with the Yellow-rumped Warbler; the songs of the two Warblers are both rather feeble, but the Yellow Red poll's is rougher and less likely to rise or fall into a different key.

The Yellow Palm Warbler has in spring a chestnut crown, like that of a Chipping Sparrow, but its bright yellow under parts distinguish it, of course, from that bird. It has, moreover, a trick of constantly wagging its tail up and down; this habit distinguishes it readily from the two other warblers with yellow under parts, the Nashville and the Yellow Warbler. (See also the account of the Black-Poll Warbler in autumn.)



PALM WARBLER. Dendroica [Setophaga] palmarum.
[Sub-especies of Palm Warbler also known as Western or Brown Palm Warbler]
5.25 in.

The Western Palm Warbler is a regular, though rare, migrant in the latter half of September, generally appearing earlier than the preceding species. Its habits and haunts are similar to those of the Yellow Palm Warbler, and it takes a trained eye to distinguish between the two. Its breast, throat, and upper belly are all dingy whitish, only the extreme lower belly and the feathers under the tail are bright yellow. The eastern bird is yellow over the entire under parts.



PINE WARBLER. Dendroica vigorsië [Setophaga pinus].
5.52 in.

Ad. ♂.– Upper parts with a strong greenish-yellow tinge in a good light; wing-bars whitish; throat and breast yellow, brightest on the throat; belly paler. Ad. ♀.— Upper parts brownish with fainter greenish-yellow tinge; under parts grayish-white with a faint tinge of yellowish on the breast; wing-bars narrower, grayish. Im.— Similar to ♀, but without any yellowish tinge; wingbars very faint.

Nest, generally in pines, from twenty to fifty feet up. Eggs, dull white, spotted with brown, chiefly about the larger end.

The Pine Warbler is a common summer resident of central New England and of parts of Long Island; in northern New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley, and in southern Connecticut it occurs only as a migrant. In the valleys of the Housatonic, Connecticut, and Merrimac, and in southern Maine it is found as far north as the pitch pine grows, but it also occurs sparingly near its northern limit in groves of tall white pine. It is the first warbler to arrive in spring, appearing early in April, and it lingers till the middle of October, singing freely again toward the end of its stay. In the spring, the bird often descends to the ground to feed, and it may in any case be more easily observed in the loose growing pitch pines than the equally common Black-throated Green Warbler in the dense white pines. The movements of the Pine Warbler are leisurely, and it stops continually to shake out the sweet trill which constitutes its song.

The song resembles in form the Chipping Sparrow's and the Snowbird's, but is sweeter and less staccato than either of these songs; moreover, it is rarely heard outside of a pine grove. At the height of the breeding season the trill is occasionally followed by a few additional notes in a lower key.

The resemblance of the Pine Warbler in pattern of coloration to the Yellow-throated Vireo is discussed on the Vireo chapter. The dull colors of the female Pine Warbler make her one of the most difficult birds to recognize; the faint tinge of yellow on the breast is perceptible only at close range in good light, and the wing-bars are narrow and grayish. The ape of the bill, of course, indicates that she is a warbler; it is often only by a process of elimination that one discovers her identity. The young birds in autumn are even more non-committal.


BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. Dendroica [Setophaga] virens.
5.10 in.

Ad. ♂.— Back greenish in strong light; wing-bars broad, white; cheeks and forehead yellow; middle of throat, upper breast, and sides black; belly white, running up into the black area. Ad. ♀.— The yellow cheeks duller, tinged with greenish; black throat almost obscured with gray; wing-bars white. Im.— Showing hardly any black on the throat.

Nest, from fifteen to fifty feet up in coniferous trees.

The Black-throated Green Warbler is a common summer resident of most of New York and New England; in northern New Jersey, the lower Hudson Valley, and south western Connecticut it occurs only as a migrant. It arrives late in April or early in May; northern individuals occur in September and early October in the mixed flocks of migrating warblers. It is the chief inhabitant of the white Green Warbler pines, where one hears continually its wheezy notes. It is also a common resident of the red cedar or savin groves of southern New England and of the spruces of northern New England and New York. In migration it is common in deciduous trees.

The song of this warbler has two forms, one quicker than the other; they may be written zee zee zu zi and zi zi zi zi zee' zu zi. When a male is singing freely, he often keeps up a chipping note through the short intervals between the repetitions of his song.

[graphic]

The bird is seldom clearly seen, though its notes are so constant, but as it comes to the end of a twig, one gets from below a glimpse of the bright yellow cheeks, the black throat, and the entering angle of white between the black sides. The only other small bird with a black throat and yellow about the head is the Golden-winged Warbler. In this species the cheeks are clear black and white and only the top of the head is yellow; the black throat, too, covers only a small area, not extending down the sides, nor is the Golden-Winged Warbler found in pines. The songs of the two species and of the Black-throated Blue have something of the same quality of tone, but differ decidedly in form. The Black-throated Blue utters three notes, the last two drawled, and generally with a rising inflection. The song of the Golden-winged Warbler may be written zee zee-zee-zee, the first note long, the next three a bit lower and quicker.


BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER. Dendroica blackburnice [Setophaga fusca]
5.25 in.

Ad. ♂.— Crown and line under eye black; back black, streaked with gray; wide bar on wing white; throat, breast, and line over eye bright reddish-orange; sides of breast streaked with black; belly whitish. Ad. ♀.— Similar, but duller, yellow replacing the orange. Im.— Similar to the female; the back browner, the yellow paler.

Nest, in evergreen trees, from ten to forty feet up. Eggs, greenish-white, speckled or spotted, chiefly about the larger end, with reddish-brown.

The Blackburnian Warbler is a migrant through southern New England and the Hudson Valley, in May and September, rare in eastern New England, but fairly common in western New England and in the Hudson Valley. It breeds from the edge of the Canadian Zone northward, locally in deep hemlocks or pine woods at the southern border of its range, commonly in the coniferous forests of the north. The song of the Blackburnian Warbler is characterized by its extreme thinness; one form resembles a very wiry Redstart's song, but the commoner form, by which the bird may always be recognized, may be described by the syllables wee, see, see, see, , , zi, ending in the thinnest note imaginable. The singer is generally feeding high in thick evergreens, and it is only now and then, when he comes out to the tip of a twig, that his splendid color is visible. If seen, it can never be mistaken or forgotten. The deep orange of the throat and breast is unlike the color of any other small bird, except the Redstart, where the orange is on the sides of the breast and the throat is black. The female and young may be known by the suggestion of buff in the yellow throat, and by the white wing-patch.


BLACK-POLL WARBLER. Dendroica striata [Setophaga striata]
5.56 in.

Ad. ♂.– Crown black; back gray, streaked with black; wingbars white; cheeks white; under parts white, the sides streaked with black. Ad. ♀.— Upper parts gray, showing black streaks and a greenish tinge in strong light; wing-bars white; sides streaked with dull black. Ad. in winter and Im.— Similar to the female, but more yellowish below, and the streaking on the back and under parts very faint.

Nest, in evergreens, about six feet up. Eggs, white, speckled and blotched at the larger end with brown.

In most of New England and New York the Black-poll Warbler is a very common migrant in the second half of May, and in September and early October. On the mountains of northern New York and New England it is a common summer resident, occurring most commonly in the stunted spruces at the edge of the timber line. The song of the Black-poll is constantly heard from the migrants in May; it is a high thin tsit tsit tsit tsit tsit, of a penetrating quality, delivered with a crescendo and diminuendo; the last notes are by some birds run rapidly together with almost a sputtering effect. The alarm-note is a strong chip.

[graphic]

Black-poll warbler

The call-note is a rather rough lisp; it is constantly heard from the trees in autumn, and is the sound heard most frequently at night as the birds migrate southward.

The male Black-poll Warbler may be told from the Black and White Warbler by its plain black cap, and by its very different manner of feeding. The former hops from one small twig to another, while the latter climbs along the large limbs. The female is harder to identify; one must look for the white wing-bars and the dull streaking along the sides. In the fall the young Black-polls and the adults in winter plumage are very abundant and should be looked for and carefully studied. Their upper parts have a greenish tinge when seen in strong light; they are yellowish below and have white wing-bars. They have a way of twitching their tails, but it is a slight nervous action, different from the deliberate sweep of the Yellow Red-poll. (See also next species.)


BAY-BREASTED WARBLER. Dendroica [Setophaga] castanea
5.63 in.

Ad. ♂.— Top of head chestnut, bordered in front and on the side with black; back streaked with black; throat, breast, and sides chestnut; sides of neck and rest of under parts buffy; wingbars white. Ad. ♂.— Upper parts olive, streaked with black; under parts buffy; sides of breast tinged with reddish-brown. Im. ♂.— Similar to ad. ♀; flanks with a tinge of reddish-brown. Im. ♀.— Upper parts olive-green, usually unstreaked; flanks usually without tinge of reddish-brown; under parts buffy.

Nest, in coniferous trees, fifteen to twenty feet from the ground. Eggs, white, tinged with greenish, and finely speckled about the larger end with brown.

The Bay-breasted Warbler, as a migrant, is not uncommon in the Hudson Valley and in western Massachusetts, but is generally very rare in eastern New England, where it occurs, as a rule, only when there is an unusually heavy migration of warblers. It passes north in the middle of May and returns in September. It breeds commonly on the high mountains of northern New England and in the extensive coniferous forests of northern and eastern Maine. The song of the Bay-breast suggests somewhat that of the Black and White Warbler, or the short form of the Redstart's song.

This is the only warbler that has a chestnut crown, throat, breast, and sides; the Yellow Red poll has a chestnut crown and slight streaking of chestnut on its yellow under parts; the Chestnut-side has a narrow stripe of chestnut along the sides, but a yellow crown and a white throat. In September a few Bay-breasts pass through eastern Massachusetts, and a larger number through the Hudson Valley. They now resemble the immature Black-poll Warblers so closely that only a trained eye can distinguish them. The buffy tinge over the under parts, the buffy under tail-coverts, and occasionally the tinge of reddish brown along the sides are their distinguishing marks.

CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Dendroica pensylvanica [Setophaga pensylvanica]

5.14 in.

Ad. ♂.– Top of head yellow; back in strong light of a greenish tinge, streaked with black; wing-bars yellowish; cheeks white; sides of throat black; a narrow stripe of chestnut-red along the sides of breast and belly. Ad. ♀.— Similar, but duller. Im.— Entire upper parts yellowish-green; wing-bars yellowish; under parts white.

Nest, in a low, slight bush, often a blackberry or a raspberry. Eggs, white, speckled, chiefly about the larger end, with reddishbrown.

The Chestnut-sided Warbler is a common summer resident of New York and New England, but is less common in the lower Hudson Valley than farther north. It arrives early in May and stays till the end of September. fers dry roadside thickets or clearings, and though its song closely resembles that of the Yellow Warbler, the two species are so rarely found breeding in the same kind of country that one will not often confuse their songs. The singer in the dry scrubby thickets is nearly always the Chestnut-side, while the bird of the streams and cultivated land is the Yellow Warbler.

Each of these two warblers commonly has two quite distinct songs, one strong and incisive, the other feebler and less piercing. The sharp incisive song of the Chestnut-side ends with a phrase which has suggested the rendering, Very, very glad to meet you. The loose or feeble song has so little character that it is hard to learn.

The yellow crown of this bird, and the white throat, breast, and belly make it easy to recognize, even if the narrow line of chestnut is not at first seen. The yellowish wing-bars of the young, and their greenish-yellow backs, and white, unstreaked under parts, distinguish them from other young warblers.

[graphic]

Chestnut-sided Warbler




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