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A Warbler Trapped in a Duck Blind.

June 1, 2013

Mourning Warbler

A week ago I was out at Blendon Woods Metro Park on the northeast side of Columbus.  I was wrapping up the spring migration season at a park that has a great reputation for hosting plenty of warblers as they move through the area.  In particular, I was looking for a specific hard-to-spot warbler that had been seen singing here the day before.  Little did I know that I would end up holding this bird in my two hands this morning…

At Blendon Woods, there is a section called the Walden Waterfowl Refuge.  This 118-acre area includes Thoreau Lake, known for attracting waterfowl, and two observation shelters along the shore of the lake for close-up viewing of said waterfowl.  It’s quite a nice viewing area- here’s what it looks like.

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This particular morning I was looking for a particular bird migrating through the area- it could be heard singing in the nearby thickets.  This bird is not easy to see- though to be fair, the summer-like foliage of late May was making it hard to see most birds.

I had been in the northern duck blind once before already, but I decided to go back inside to look around the area.  As soon as I walked in, I saw something on the floor…

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At first glance, walking in the blind from the bright morning sunshine, it looked like a sparrow sitting on the floor.  A bird had flown in, perhaps through the observation slits, and couldn’t get back out.  But then I noticed the olive and yellow colors.  This was the bird I had driven to the park to see!

The bird flew up to the window sill, able to see the outdoors but unable to get past the windows.

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I watched as it pecked at the barrier, trying to escape its enclosure.  I took some more photos.  I had no idea I’d get to see this bird inside the duck blind!

It rested on the window sill, looking at me.

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This is a Mourning Warbler, and the black and gray bib indicates that this is a male.  This species summers north of Ohio, preferring second-growth forest as a habitat.  It usually stays well-hidden in vegetation, so seeing it like this was a rare treat.  It’s much easier to hear this bird sing than it is to see it singing.  And its song is rather distinctive.

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I moved closer to try to get him out of the duck blind.  He hunkered down in the corner of the window sill,  breathing rapidly.  I had to move fast, or he might die from the stress of being cornered.

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Here’s the last photo I took before scooping him up in my hands and putting him out through the observation slit (probably the way he got into the blind in the first place).  He sat in my palm for a second, and then took off flying over the pond.

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It was amazing seeing this bird so closely.  I’m glad I could help him on his way- I wouldn’t be surprised if he flew towards Michigan as fast as he could!

You never know when you’ll run across such natural beauty in close quarters.  All’s well that ends well.  I hope you raise a big family this summer, fella!

29 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2013 12:11 am

    Wow, what a treat that was for you!

  2. June 2, 2013 12:24 am

    I’ll be looking for it if it does come to Michigan!

  3. June 2, 2013 4:46 am

    Well done, I’m glad you managed to free him! What a surprise and a lucky find – for you and for him!

  4. June 2, 2013 6:54 am

    Glad there was someone to rescue the little guy!

  5. June 2, 2013 8:44 am

    Serendipitous meeting … you both got a good look at each other!
    Glad you were able to rescue him.

  6. June 2, 2013 9:39 am

    you’re a good man

  7. June 2, 2013 10:34 am

    What a great story, Tracy! Beautiful photos, and I loved the link to the warbler’s song. I’m amazed that you could capture him but so glad you did. I once freed a robin from being entangled in a net; he stayed pretty calm while I did it and then hung out near me for the rest of the summer. Always gratifying to have wild friends 🙂

    • June 2, 2013 1:10 pm

      I was happy he survived the whole ordeal, Composer- I worried that he might get too stressed out, but then I remembered bird banders handle birds all the time, so I caught him in my cupped and and it all worked out.

      Glad you made a robin friend- I fed one raisins this past February when food was running low, it does seem like they almost ‘adopt’ you in these incidents.

  8. June 2, 2013 3:48 pm

    Great story

  9. June 2, 2013 8:03 pm

    I’m glad the bird didn’t fly into the windows and knock himself out. I’ve seen several do that over the years. Glad you didn’t have to search too hard for the object of your quest!

    • June 2, 2013 8:22 pm

      I was very glad the bird recovered immediately and flew away, with apparently no lasting health problems…I still can hardly believe that the one hard-to-see bird that I drove across a city to see was waiting for me in the duck blind that I walked into!

  10. June 3, 2013 12:05 pm

    Hi Seasons, What a beautiful and sweet little guy. So glad you rescued it. Glad you also got an up-close look. I have never seen one in person. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful day today!

    • June 3, 2013 12:13 pm

      Thanks, Wildlifewatcher, you too! I’d never seen one before this one, they’re good at staying hidden in foliage.

  11. June 4, 2013 12:38 am

    What a neat experience! There is a viewing area like that at a refuge we visited. Guess we’ll have to watch where we step next time!

  12. June 4, 2013 2:39 pm

    Your lucky! I’ve yet to see a Mourning Warbler, but maybe next Spring. As always great seeing your photos……Finally getting your blog reaching me again, I’ve had PROBLEMS, but hopefully all cleared up now.

    • June 6, 2013 6:02 pm

      Glad to see you back, Joleen! You took some great photos of warblers this spring!

      • June 6, 2013 6:04 pm

        Thanks Tracy, it’s wonderful to be back and always enjoy reading and viewing your blog!

  13. June 6, 2013 6:39 am

    ~standing ovation~ Bless you. You are awesome. What a wonderful thing you did. Great photos too. 🙂


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