Monday, August 28, 2006

The Warbler

I spent the weekend trying to take a photo of what I believe is a warbler of some kind...I thought I had identified the bird; my book, however, shows some differences.

And then, reading further in the The Sibley Field Guide to birds, I discover that there are many hybrids out there...birds who are the offspring of parents of closely related species. These birds are often overlooked by birders. They are usually fertile, will mate with their parent species or another hybrid and will produce babies called backcrosses.

Hybrids can show unexpected characteristics which are not present on either parent. It is sometimes impossible to say with certainty what the lineage is. Birders use what features they can identify; then calling the bird an "apparent Hybrid".

Okay. On with the story. I was watering the hanging moss planter at my back door, when this little buff coloured bird flew right into the planter, getting a little splashed by the water I was pouring into it. Startled, almost dropping the water jug, I backed off a bit, watching what this bright eyed little visitor intended.

He had dark black stripes on his head, a large, longish beak, and a caramel coloured chest. His back was an olive taupe kind of colour. He burrowed his way into the planter; finding nothing worth eating, he flew onto the underside of the porch roof and sat there, watching me, as I watched him.

We were at a stalemate. My camera was in my study, on the other side of the house. ( I should have it glued to my hand...then when these animals visit, I might be able to get a photo or two!) I did not want to move suddenly as I was sure the bird would immediately fly away, so I stood still, just inches away from this little bird.

He was very curious about me and about the inside of the house. He hopped around, trying to get a closer look...I was afraid he would fly right past me into the house...where the dogs were. He was certainly not afraid of humans, but dogs may have been another matter.

Birds in the house have always meant transitions in store for my family. Just recently, a brown bird visited each room in my house, seemingly not afraid. The dogs ignored him, even though Brown Bird flying past the Big Chair in the living room was certainly unusual. He waited calmly at a window, finally, until I covered him with a dish towel and carried him outside. Brown Bird flew off to the power lines outside our home; chirped at me...and flew away. I haven't seen a bird like him since.

But the transitions are occurring...and I will tell about it here, when I can.

This little Warbler was unusual, too, by his very presence. According to Sibley's, he would be considered a rare visitor, on the West Coast, as his usual place of abode is Eastern North America. I think he might be a Worm-eating Warbler; my hat's off to birders who identify birds. It is an extremely long, drawn-out process; and then Sibley's informs me, birders must be prepared to defend their identification of the species. This means much research, photography, and recordings of bird song to back up the identity. I may be a long way off in my identification of this bird.

I tried to see into his eyes; when I attempted to use this contact, he stopped his examination of the laundry room, and each narrow ledge on the porch, became still... and stared back at me.

There was instant connection and recognition and the flow of energy I always receive when I make eye contact with a familiar being. Then he flew away. But he returned, bringing his mate, and allowed me to take that rather hazy photo of him at the bird feeder. I see them building a nest in Grandfather Tree. I don't know if their nesting habitat is unusual; what I do know is that it is late in the year for birds to go around building nests.

Perhaps, when he visited me at the hanging basket, he was checking out the neighbourhood, and the beings who inhabited this place where he wanted to bring up a family. It's late in year, I tell him now, when he flies in to nosh on some seeds, don't you think you should head off to where you're supposed to be for the winter? He doesn't seem concerned.

He and his mate have stayed behind the little flock he came in with...and since I know little about this species, perhaps he'll stay, long enough to bring up his family. I will make sure the bird feeder is full, just in case.

This friend of ours, if he is a Worm-eating Warbler, hails from Missouri and Arkansas. In Winona, Missouri is where Shaman Maggie is building the Life Healing Community. I find it wonderful that a bird that is native to Missouri chose to visit, going so far out of his way to do so. It was a direct how-do- you-do? from Maggie... and when Warbler leaves, I will send good intentions for the Life Healing Community and Maggie with him and his mate.

As an ally, Warbler can teach me how to sing my soul song in order to achieve what I require for survival. I have been interested in soul songs lately. Warbler's song of the heart will guide me, teaching me to raise my voice with confidence, tenacity and patience.

I find this type of thing so very interesting. The idea of taking an unusual natural event and finding some for the asking!...awes and amazes me.

And all I have to do is be aware of them.


  1. The Artist10:00 p.m.

    Have enjoyed the read and what beauty you have in your photos, best wishes, The Artist

  2. Thank you for visiting!Hope to see you again.