Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Warbler at a Hummingbird Feeder

This video of a warbler visiting a hummingbird feeder was posted on YouTube.

Songbirds sometimes visit hummingbird feeders, either to drink nectar or to catch insects attracted to the feeder. (See the photos here for another example.) Many warbler species, which primarily eat invertebrates during the breeding season, will drink nectar from flowers on their winter grounds in Central and South America. So it is not all that surprising that they would take advantage of artificial nectar sources as well.

The bird in the video above is most likely a Prothonotary Warbler. Not many warblers have that combination of bright yellow throat and breast, white vent, and plain upperparts (with a bluish cast). The dark head may indicate a hatch year bird. While spring adult males have bright yellow head, other plumages show varying amounts of olive on the nape and crown, with the most olive coverage on first fall birds. Prothonotary is one of the warbler species known to nectar.

The only element that bothers me is the apparent dusky neck,* but that could be an effect of the lighting, which appears to be coming from behind. I also do not see location information on the video or user pages, so there is a question of whether the range is appropriate. The site is in North Carolina, so this would be within the Prothonotary Warbler's normal range. What do you think?

* After checking a few more sources, I found that first fall Prothonotaries may have an olive wash on the flanks and throat.

Thanks to Peter Vankevich for bring the video to my attention.