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Tennessee Toilette

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tennessee warblers are common here in fall migration, distinctive for their grass-green upperparts, unmarked whitish underparts, groovy pale line over the eye, short tail, and needle-sharp bills. After seeing enough of them we can tell them naked-eye by their unique grass- green, and by their dumpy shape. That’s a great luxury, to see enough fall warblers every day to get the general impression, size and shape (GISS)--er, I mean gestalt-- down. It’s a luxury we’re thankful for, but one for which we’re also responsible, because we started planting for birds 15 years ago, and that hard work is bearing copious fruit.

The mulberries and willow and grey birches and glorious hummingbird gardens join all the wonderful bird-friendly plants that already grew here—sumacs and sassafras, grapes, Virginia creeper, native bittersweet, poison ivy, dogwood and tupelo and spicebush and black raspberries and Virginia pines, to name just a few. It’s a bird’s paradise, and as such it’s a paradise for us. I do indulge in tropicals, too, like the Cuphea "Batface" pictured above. Roly-poly little batface plant.

Tennessee warblers LOVE water. They dive right in and pester the big birds, sometimes right out of the bath. This little guy was attracted by the droplets flying off a bathing mourning dove, and he shouldered right in to enjoy a shower as well as a bath.

Not much intimidates a Tennessee warbler in the bath. He's nose to nose with a bird who could smoosh him.

Gotta love this pose--wings up!

When the dove left, he went right on splashing, and showered a juvenile male cardinal in his turn.Cute, but not particularly friendly...
that's a Tennessee warbler in water.

Thanks for your comments on these fall warbler posts. I think this is a good way to learn about fall warblers. One at a time, with a little behavioral commentary and photos from multiple angles. Maybe that way, their salient features will sink in better, and you'll know them better when you see them again. The little Spa keeps giving, even as fall comes on. If I'm going to be showered with blessings, I'm going to throw them around a little.
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