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Monday, November 30, 2009

Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler, photographed in GA in winter.


Orange-crowned Warbler, photographed in Ohio in May

Warblers are usually the last birds those of us in the North are thinking about during holiday time, yet a few warblers can show up in late fall/early winter. The Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata) is one of them. There have been several sightings of Orange-crowned Warblers this fall on the NH coast, including one this past weekend, photo here. There's also an Orange-crowned Warbler being seen now in the Boston area.

Orange-crowned Warblers breed across much of the West, Canada and Alaska. There are 3 subspecies. The subspecies we have in the East, celata, is the dullest, with the bright western subspecies, lutescens, being quite yellowish and the subspecies of the Great Basin and Rockies, orestera, being somewhat in between the other two subspecies in brightness. Not your most glamorous warbler, but interesting. Note the thin, pointed bill, hint of an eye line, and yellowish undertail coverts. The orange on their crown is usually not visible.

Orange-crowns winter across southern areas of the country. So, if you're up North, keep an eye out for them still migrating. If you're in the South, welcome them to their wintering area.

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