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Yellowthroat Toilette

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Regular readers of this blog will remember the yellow-throated warbler (Dendroica dominica) that hit my studio window in early September. In that post, I made a bit of a slight against the common yellowthroat, and one of my old friends called me on it. I said that the yellow-throated warbler outclassed Geothlypis trichas six ways to Sunday in the beauty department. As my pal pointed out, this wasn't fair, so I want to go on record here as stating that the common yellowthroat beats the tar out of its more elegant cousin on the cuteometer.
The common yellowthroat is a bird of wet meadows and marshes. It likes water. It looooves water. It is among the most enthusiastic bathers that visit our Bird Spa.
Like any songbird, a yellowthroat bathes by first dunking its head, then raising the head, which rolls water down the back. During this maneuver, it flutters its wings, which sends spray flying into the plumage. This immature male yellowthroat added some curliques to the routine, though. First, he literally dove beneath the water's surface, like a dipper. He'd travel for several inches, pushing with his feet, then pop up to bathe like a normal bird.When he was done fluttering, he'd pop straight up about six inches into the air. He looked like a kernel of corn with heat under it. He'd come down in another place and start the routine all over again.
Ahh, serendipity, and the flutter of small birds' wings. I can practically live on both.


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