I was free this morning, but all I felt like doing was spending half an hour on my back patio to see what I could find. The first twenty minutes were pretty uneventful but then I heard a Black-and-white Warbler singing. I was able to find it in my neighbor's trees behind my backyard and got a couple so-so photos of it. Here's one.
Warblers are small migratory songbirds that actively forage for insects in the forest canopy.
They are very popular among birders because there are fifty or sixty species that can be found in north America, and most are amazingly colorful and detailed. Black-and-white Warblers are one of the most common to pass through central Texas in the spring. They breed here too, but not in neighborhoods. Their striped black-and-white pattern is distinctive, but so is their behavior. They mostly clink to tree trunks and thick branches like a woodpecker, often scooting around upside-down or sideways as they glean the bark and bases of twigs for bugs.
Black-and-white Warblers are one of those interesting migratory species whose northern summer range almost overlaps with its southern winter range. They winter as far south as northern South America and as far north as south Texas. They breed in the summer from central Texas all the way up north to Canada. I wonder if the individual birds that breed the furthest north also winter the furthest north?
Here's the other photo I got, showing the bird singing.
Hearing and then seeing this bird cheered me up a bit. Even though I'm not out there to see them as much this year, birds are moving north through my neighborhood and through my yard on schedule. For some reason this makes me happy.