Thursday, January 15, 2009

Townsend's Warbler on the hummingbird feeder

So I'm sitting at the computer, just having posted the blog on bats, and feeling that sense of satisfaction that I had some great stuff about nature to share. I'm ready to close up, go do the dishes, etc. when WHAMMO! Eighteen inches in front of me at the window hummingbird feeder an adult female Townsend's Warbler lands ON TOP of it. I sit with my mouth agape, staring at it, trying to encompass the idea of this amazingly beautiful bird so close I could touch her (except for the glass). She marches around the top, peering carefully at the openings for a way in to the goodies. Naturally my camera, which usually I keep nearby, is buried somewhere in the house. Sigh...

Now our neighbor Thera across the street has a hummingbird feeder that is more suitable for warbler bills; she tells us that she has seen a Townsend's warbler drinking at that hummingbird feeder for three years, and has sent us a photo to prove it. So it wasn't a complete surprise. Still...

After about a minute of searching, this female left. I'm left wondering: how did she find it? Is she, like hummingbirds, tuned in to the color red? Or did she watch the other hummers and follow them in?

The other thing I noticed: normally I consider warblers a small and delicate bird, but after watching the Anna's at this feeder, this Townsend's female looked like the size of a horse.

Wow. What a blessing on my day.


• photo Slodocents at CreativeCommons


  1. Portland Oregon reporting in with Townsend Warblers feeding at my hummingbird feeders daily.
    I had to look and see if anyone else was witnessing the same event.

  2. I'm in Beaverton, Oregon, and I too was searching to see if anyone else had a Townsend Warbler at their hummingbird feeder. We're having a snow storm today and I had to keep switching out the feeders when they froze. The Townsend Warbler appeared to prefer one feeder over the other (two different styles). He was definitely going for the sugar water and the hummingbird did not appreciate his presence! He also ate at the suet feeder. Very neat!

  3. Same thing for me ... I went searching to see if anyone else had seen warblers on their hummingbird feeder. :) I can't identify the exact species of warbler who came to mine tonight (not a Townsend's) -- but it was delightful to see several hummingbirds and a warbler sharing the nectar ports. I noticed that the warbler liked jumping on a perch just after the hummingbird had finished drinking -- taking up some of the fallen droplets, it looked like.