Birds – Blue-winged Warbler

(Helminthophila pinus) Wood Warbler family


Length—4.75 inches. An inch and a half shorter than the English sparrow.

Male—Crown of head and all under parts bright yellow. Back olive-green. Wings and tail bluish slate, the former with white bars, and three outer tail quills with large white patches on their inner webs.

Female-Paler and more olive.

Range—Eastern United States, from southern New England and Minnesota, the northern limit of its nesting range, to Mexico and Central America, where it winters.

Migrations—May. September. Summer resident.

In the naming of warblers, bluish slate is the shade intended when blue is mentioned; so that if you see a dainty little olive and yellow bird with slate-colored wings and tail hunting for spiders in the blossoming orchard or during the early autumn, you will have seen the beautiful blue-winged warbler. It has a rather leisurely way of hunting, unlike the nervous, restless flitting about from twig to twig that is characteristic of many of its many cousins. The search is thorough—bark, stems, blossoms, leaves are inspected for larvae and spiders, with many pretty motions of head and body. Sometimes, hanging with head downward, the bird suggests a yellow titmouse. After blossom time a pair of these warblers, that have done serviceable work in the orchard in their all too brief stay, hurry off to dense woods to nest. They are usually to be seen in pairs at all seasons. Not to “high coniferous trees in northern forests “—the Mecca of innumerable warblers—but to scrubby, second growth of wood-land borders, or lower trees in the heart of the woods, do these dainty birds retreat. There they build the usual warbler nest of twigs, bits of bark, leaves, and grasses, but with this peculiarity: the numerous leaves with which the nest is wrapped all have their stems pointing upward. Mr. Frank Chapman has admirably defined their song as consisting of ” two drawled, wheezy notes —swee-chee, the first inhaled, the second exhaled.”