Birds – Worm-eating Warbler

(Helmintherus vermivorus) Wood Warbler family

Length-5.5o inches. Less than an inch shorter than the English sparrow.

Male and Female—Greenish olive above. Head yellowish brown, with two black stripes through crown to the nape;” also black lines from the eyes to neck. Under parts buffy and white.

Range—Eastern parts of United States. Nests as far north as southern Illinois and southern Connecticut. Winters in the Gulf States and southward.

Migrations—May. September. Summer resident.

In the Delaware Valley and along the same parallel, this inconspicuous warbler is abundant, but north of New Jersey it is rare enough to give an excitement to the day on which you discover it. No doubt it is commoner than we suppose, for its coloring blends so admirably with its habitats that it is probably very often overlooked. Its call-note, a common chirp, has nothing distinguishing about it, and all ornithologists confess to having been often misled by its song into thinking it came from the chipping sparrow. It closely resembles that of the pine warbler also. If it were as nervously active as most warblers, we should more often discover it, but it is quite as deliberate as a vireo, and in the painstaking way in which it often circles around a tree while searching for spiders and other insects that infest the trunks, it reminds us of the brown creeper. Sunny slopes and hillsides covered with thick undergrowth are its preferred foraging and nesting haunts. It is often seen hopping directly on the dry ground, where it places its nest, and it never mounts far above it. The well-drained, sunny situation for the home is chosen with the wisdom of a sanitary expert.