Monthly Archives: May 2018

An Amazing Imposter

Gray Catbird at the Horicon Marsh

Gray Catbird

The Gray Catbird, with its understated beauty, is named for its call. It sounds like a young kitten mewing. It can also “imitate the vocalizations of over 40 bird species, at least one frog species and several sounds produced by machines and electronic devices,” according to the American Museum of Natural History Birds of North America: Eastern Region. Amazingly, it can sing two notes simultaneously. Some of us would be happy to sing one note well.

Black-necked Stilt and Dunlin at the Horicon Marsh

Black-necked Stilt Eyeing a Dunlin

Shorebirds can be difficult to identify. The Dunlin has a large, square, black patch on its abdomen, as part of its adult breeding plumage, making it easy to recognize. The Black-necked Stilt has striking black and white plumage with thin pink legs.  This is prime nesting time at the Horicon Marsh and a wide variety of birds can be seen with their stunning breeding plumage.

More Warblers at the Horicon Marsh

Palm Warbler at the Horicon Marsh

Palm Warbler

The intensely gazing Palm Warbler makes only a brief stop before darting to his next perch. Palm Warblers are one of the northernmost breeding of all warblers. They winter in the south and they got their name when they were discovered on a Caribbean island filled with palm trees.

Blackpoll Warbler at the Horicon Marsh

Blackpoll Warbler

The Blackpoll Warbler is the only warbler that breeds farther north than the Palm Warbler. The Blackpoll Warbler is one of the last warblers to arrive in the spring. “The Blackpoll is said to be one of the most beneficial of warblers, fairly gorging itself on cankerworms,” according to American ornithologist Florence Merriam. There’s a fun fact to share with friends.

Common Yellowthroat at the Horicon Marsh

Common Yellowthroat

This Common Yellowthroat flitted among the tangled branches of shrubs along the edge of the Marsh.

American Robin at the Horicon Marsh

American Robin

This American Robin ate a few too many earthworms while he was watching the antics of the warblers at the Horicon Marsh.

You can still participate in activities for the bird festival continuing today and tomorrow.

Warblers at the Horicon Marsh

Yellow Warbler at the Horicon Marsh

Yellow Warbler

Warblers were active at the Horicon Marsh this evening singing and flitting among budding shrubs and trees. The Yellow Warbler was aptly described as “a bit of feathered sunshine” by ornithologist Frank Chapman.

Yellow-rumped "Myrtle" Warbler at the Horicon Marsh

Male Yellow-rumped “Myrtle” Warbler

The male Yellow-rumped “Myrtle” Warbler has patches of yellow on his crown, side, and rump.

Yellow-rumped Warbler at the Horicon Marsh

It is called the Myrtle Warbler because it is the only warbler that uses special enzymes to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles. It’s ability to digest these fruits allows it to spend the winter farther north than other warblers.

Canada Goose with Goslings at the Horicon Marsh

Canada Goose with Goslings

Canada Goose goslings are becoming more abundant.  The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival starts Thursday, May 10th and continues through Monday, May 14th. It is a wonderful opportunity to see over 200 bird species that visit the Horicon Marsh.