October 2016 Bird Photo of the Month

Singing his heart out! © Joseph F. Pescatore
Northern Parula (Setophaga americana)

It is surely springtime in Florida, when we hear these tiny warblers sing so very loudly at the top of oak tree canopies – to establish their territory, deter other males, and attract a mate. Or maybe this Northern Parula is singing just because he is savoring life! What is also amazing is being able to capture this photograph. Joseph F. Pescatore using his Sony RX100M2 mounted to a Swarovski ATS 80HD spotting scope at 20X power, 1) knew what was singing, 2) found the warbler in the tree canopy at the end of a branch, 3) set up his equipment, 4) aligned scope, camera, and bird, 5) sharpened its focus, and 6) triggered the shutter. Bird watchers have trouble finding these singing warblers, let alone lining up the camera and scope to take a Northern Parula singing with such gusto. You can even see his tiny tongue!

A bird‘s beak is shaped to capture and devour particular foods. In this case, a parula’s is pointed and sharp for probing, finding, and devouring insects and spiders. The Northern Parula, one of the few warblers that breeds in Florida, often winters in Bermuda, Cuba and southeastern Mexico along the coast. How lucky we Floridians are to be able to hear this warbler’s song. Most warblers are just passing through our lush hammocks on the major Atlantic Flyway. Hurrying, stopping to refuel here, they fly only at night to be safe from hawk predators. These 4.25 inch loud songsters weigh only 1/3 ounce but return from wintering areas in the springtime thousands of miles north, some stop here, others fly to their breeding areas north of us, all the way to Canada.

Juanita Baker, Coordinator
Florida Bird Photo of the Month
Pelican Island Audubon Society

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