Wednesday, July 6, 2011

American Redstart; Summer Warblers of Northern Illinois

The American Redstart is a common warbler in Northern Illinois,
 Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 5/8/2011.
The third warbler of my "Warbler Week" series is the American Redstart (Above), which is unlike most of the male warblers in that it isn't predominantly yellow and gray. This beautiful warbler has the colors of a Baltimore Oriole (orange and black), but is much smaller at 5 1/4" in length (compared to the Baltimore Oriole's 8 3/4"). In summers, Redstart Warblers can be found in the Eastern half of the U.S. but in the northern states it will stretch its range into Montana and Wyoming and as far west as Canada's British Columbia. I usually have luck finding Redstarts in deciduous trees starting in mid May. They seem to be very vocal singing their songs continuously and tend to stay in the lower halves of trees - so it is one of the easier warblers to find and photograph.
A female American Redstart, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/22/2011.
Females (Above) look more like most warblers as its common colors are yellow, gray, and olive. They have a gray head and undersides with yellow flanks a yellow wingbar and two large yellow patches on its tail which they like to fan out in flight (Below).

 A good look at the fanned out tail of a female American Redstart, Rockford, IL; 5/14/2011.
 In mid-May we had another first in our yard (FIY), as a pair of American Redstarts flitted back and forth from our big oak tree to a feeding station. I was hoping they might consider nesting in our yard, but alas, I didn't see them again after that day.
I loved the colors from this sunset reflecting on Lake Superior, Porcupines Mountains, Upper Michigan; 5/24/2008.

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