Orange-crowned Warbler visit Oct. 7, 2020

So I’m sitting on my back deck last night around 9:30 pm when something flutters into one of our hanging flower baskets less than a meter from my head. I walk over to investigate and an Orange-crowned Warbler tries to fly out, but instead drops out, clearly exhausted. It was so tired that it let me pick it up off the ground and put it into a small plastic container.

With the warbler safe inside the container, I began to try to piece together what may have happened. My hunch is that it was migrating high overhead and literally dropped out of the sky exhausted. Somehow one of our hanging flower baskets was the first thing it reached. Sometimes birds end up in the strangest of places during their spring and fall migrations due to exhaustion. I’ve had this before when living in China (on a major flyway) where people used to bring me exhausted birds. I recall Siberian Blue Robins as being the main specie but also Eurasian Wrens and a Laceolated Warbler. I kept them in a box until they regained some energy and then released them. My plan last night was to keep the warbler in a comfortable box overnight and then release in the morning if it was ready to go. Instead, while finding a more suitable box, I noticed this little one was showing signs of renewed energy and so thought I would see how far it would go being released right way. I set it on my bird feeder which is a large platform well off the ground and it took off instantly. It flew away in a strong manner so I’m hoping it is still ok. Migration is a challenging time if the life of all birds.


One comment

  1. Nice, Tom! How these tiny birds, many just a few months old, cross continents with no map, gps or knowledge of places to stop, is just incredible. They are right on the edge and, sometimes, encountering a kind human soul when they are struggling is the difference between life and death. Hope that warbler finds his way safely to his wintering grounds!


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