Birds – Bay-breasted Warbler

(Dendroica castanea)

Length—5.25 to 5.75 inches. A little smaller than the English sparrow.

Male—Crown, chin, throat, upper breast, and sides dull chest-nut. Forehead, sides of head, and cheeks black. Above olive-gray; streaked with black. Underneath buffy. Two white wing-bars. Outer tail quills with white patches on tips. Cream-white patch on either side of neck.

Female-Has more greenish-olive above.

Range—Eastern North America, from Hudson’s Bay to Central America. Nests north of the United States. Winters in tropical limit of range.

Migrations-May. September. Rare migrant.

The chestnut breast of this capricious little visitor makes him look like a diminutive robin. In spring, when these warblers are said to take a more easterly route than the one they choose in autumn to return by to Central America, they may be so suddenly abundant that the fresh green trees and shrubbery of the garden will contain a dozen of the busy little hunters. Another season they may pass northward either by another route or leave your garden unvisited; and perhaps the people in the very next town may be counting your rare bird common, while it is simply perverse.

Whether common or rare, before your acquaintance has had time to ripen into friendship, away go the freaky little creatures to nest in the tree-tops of the Canadian coniferous forests.