Tuesday, June 10, 2014

American Redstart

The American Redstart is a smallish warbler that makes a big impression.

The male American Redstart is a beautiful bird you could mistake for a Baltimore Oriole due to its similar coloration. 

Breeding age males have a large red-orange patch on their finely detailed wings and tail. A brilliant white belly, a black head and dark eyes complete a Halloween style look.  

He contrasts nicely against a blue spring sky and fresh new foliage.

(Click any picture to enlarge)

It takes some patience and a willingness to search out where an American Redstart is likely to present this time of year.

American Redstarts are secretive and shy…prone to duck behind a leaf when spotted. 

But assuming the hyperactive nature of most birds, you won’t wait long before he flits into an opening again…giving you a good second look.

American Redstarts hang out in deciduous trees from low to midlevel heights where they search for insects. 

Insects hide, so American Redstarts flash their wings and tail to a rapid beat, hoping to startle insects into revealing their presence.  

They also hawk a good portion of their food right out of the air.  

The female American Redstart is an attractive package, too.  She is a subtler version of the male...minus the orange and black.   Instead, she's compatibly matched in shades of grey to yellow to olive-green.

It’s important for birds to blend into their surroundings during June's long nesting season.  Keeping a nest's location secret from eggs to fledglings is a full-time task for all birds.  

There is a whole laundry list of mammals, snakes, lizards and even other birds that prey on eggs and nestlings. Domestic and feral cats are major predators in the forest. 

Usually, going unnoticed is vital when raising young.  However, being a standout like the male American Redstart may be okay and even beneficial to his nestling's survival.  He may attract attention off them and onto himself. 
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds