Birds – Hooded Warbler

(Sylvania mitrata) Wood Warbler family

Length—5 to 5.75 inches. About an inch shorter than the English sparrow.

Male—Head, neck, chin, and throat black like a hood in mature male specimens only. Hood restricted, or altogether wanting in female and young. Upper parts rich olive. Forehead, cheeks, and underneath yellow. Some conspicuous white on tail feathers.

Female—Duller, and with restricted cowl.

Range—United States east of Rockies, and from southern Michigan and southern New England to West Indies and tropical America, where it winters. Very local.

Migrations—May. September. Summer resident.

This beautifully marked, sprightly little warbler might be mistaken in his immaturity for the yellowthroat ; and as it is said to take him nearly three years to grow his hood, with the completed cowl and cape, there is surely sufficient reason here for the despair that often seizes the novice in attempting to distinguish the perplexing warblers. Like its Southern counterpart, the hooded warbler prefers wet woods and low trees rather than high ones, for much of its food consists of insects attracted by the dampness, and many of them must be taken on the wing. Be-cause of its tireless activity the bird’s figure is particularly slender and graceful—a trait, too, to which we owe all the glimpses of it we are likely to get throughout the summer. It has a curious habit of spreading its tail, as if it wished you to take special notice of the white spots that adorn it; not flirting it, as the red-start does his more gorgeous one, but simply opening it like a fan as it flies and darts about.

Its song, which is particularly sweet and graceful, and with more variation than most warblers’ music, has been translated “Che-we-eo-tsip, tsip, che-we-eo,” again interpreted by Mr. Chap-man as ” You must come to the woods, or you won’t see me.”