A reader assured me that the warblers are not warblers because warblers have migrated south. But after a lot of staring at pictures, these ARE warblers. Also, they do not migrate. They used to migrate which is why I first was baffled as to why I was seeing warblers in the winter. As far as I knew, they should all have gone south by now.
It turns out that many birds have stopped migrating. One of the many reasons they have stopped migrating is because people like me feed them through the winter. Feeders allow them to stay put, so they don’t bother to migrate. And the weather is changing.
Why are these warblers? Probably Pine Warblers that permanently live along the coast including where we live. Further inland, some of them migrate, but many do not. The dark head, the sharp double white bar on the wings.
The Goldfinch doesn’t have that double bar. It has one strong bar and a second partial bar and the males have a black cap which NONE of my warblers have, at least none that I’ve photographed and by now, I’ve photographed a lot of them.
My friend Ron says he has flocks of these warblers all year round in his woods, too and he lives just about 60 miles west of here, near Amherst. There are some other birds that are similar, some of which may be other kinds of warblers (there are a bunch of them) or they might be Goldfinch.
The birds are basically the same color, same size, fly in flocks, and live in the same region. And they are all “feeder” birds. But since none of the birds have shown a black cap, I can’t believe in all these birds I haven’t seen a single male American Goldfinch. Therefore, I have to assume these are non-breeding Pine Warblers.
This from the white wing bars, white necks, and dark (but not black) heads and bodies ranging from yellow (mostly around their heads) with mostly light yellow or beige bodies.
I had to buy a new copy of Peterson to get the updated information, by the way. My old book was from 1984 and many migratory patterns have dramatically changed. A few birds apparently don’t even live in this area anymore, but other birds that never lived here now do. Many common birds have become rare and some rare birds have become more common.
Migratory patterns have changed for many birds and quite recently. During the past ten years, the Canada geese stopped migrating. They used to fly south. I remember watching the vees of geese heading for the Chesapeake Bay. You don’t see that anymore.
There’s no water there, though there are rivers everywhere in the area so I’m sure they can get to a river if they want. They appear to live on the land and eat whatever people leave around. Maybe when the summer comes, they fly to the rivers and catch fish.
The rest of the year, they march in straight lines around the office parks and you had best get out of their way when they have goslings. They are formidable when protecting their young.
Time and birds, they are a’changin’.