Palm Warblers are one of the first Parulids to travel north through the Midwest in spring (I photographed this one in Madison, Wisconsin). Because of their timing, they sometimes arrive at stopover locations prior to leaf out (cool springs) or sometimes post leaf out (warm springs). The different leaf-out and flowering times of plants is correlated with differences in insect prey items and the abundance of those prey. So, Palm Warblers have many different foraging strategies (e.g., on the ground, in the shrubs and trees, gleans, hovers, etc) that enable them to acquire food under a variety of conditions.
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers arrive to Wisconsin in the spring at a similar time as Palm Warblers. But, you tend to find these individuals up in trees, like this Hackberry, looking for insects.
The species that has taught us most of what we know about wintering ecology of warblers in the Carribean.
I love watching Black-and-white Warblers forage, as they busily work their way around the stems of trees looking for food items.
Black-throated Gray Warbler (Madison, Wisconsin)
I was not the first person to see this bird (two birders thought it was a Blackpoll Warbler), but I did identify it). This is probably one of the 'rarer' birds I have found, and it was fun having lots of birders in the Madison and southern Wisconsin area come out to appreciate this individual. Pheasant Branch, Madison, WI. spring 2011.
Red-headed Woodpecker (Madison, Wisconsin)
Red-headed Woodpeckers are one of my favorite birds. They like sparse canopy habitats (e.g. savanna, golf courses, etc), and they were a breeding resident at my dissertation field sites at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.
This Black-capped Chickadee was busy making a cavity for its summer nesting site.
The Davis Mountains in Texas are a great place to bird. This Black-headed Grosbeak blended in well with the subtle colors in west Texas.
Bushtit in Big Bend
Bushtits are one of my favorite bird species. One morning as I was out surveying for Black-capped Vireo, and pair of inquisitive Bushtit followed me for ten minutes or so. I took this photograph as I stopped for a drink of water.