She Wanted His Black Pearl Necklace

Doing my best to stay on top of the posts this month. Although this month seems to be gobbling up time faster than Ms. Pac-man on a pellet run, next month is going to be downright ugly. That is when the heavy Halloween Trail lifting begins. So much still to do on this year’s new prop additions. Linda isn’t too pleased about the condition of the basement at the moment – there are at least 5 projects in various stages down there, not to mention my den has another 2 servo based props that are driving me absolutely crazy thanks to either a wiring glitch or an erratic software demon. Bad flashbacks to those sleepless system troubleshooting days with the tiny sign in my office. “A repeatable problem is easily solved”. Those living an IT life already know this, it’s the random shit that’s a pain in the ass. Luckily for me, Ron is coming down next weekend to lend a hand..oh and we are attending a birding event with the local Ornithological Chapter. Speaking of which, how about we get to the real reason you are here.. the pretty birds!

Hit the jump to learn more about our flamboyantly colored bird.

Per that mighty Texas trio.

“And when I asked her what she wanted
And this is what she had to say
A [black] pearl necklace
She wanted [his black] pearl necklace.”

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

Before I go further, I do know what that referenced song is about (one of our good friends used to sing that song out loud from time to time until her husband politely informed her … embarrassed, she never sung it again hehehehe). Unfortunately, that song has been swirling in my head since the day Ron and I encountered this Canada Warbler. The good thing is, my insertions nullify the original context ha!

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

As you can see, this Warbler’s necklace is the primary feature of this particular Warbler. That black necklace against the brilliant yellow neck and chest makes this one of the more easily recognizable New World birds…at least when it comes to the males. As is often the case, the females get short changed on the fancy adornments. They have a duller gray back compared to the deep slate grey of their counterpart. They do have a necklace of their own, but it is very faint and can be easily missed depending on what angle you happen to get or how fluffed their neck feathers are. They also lack the bold amount of black on the face which I think really completes the male’s dapper look.

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

Rounding out the coloring, both display a very pronounced white eye-ring that Cornell notes looks like they are wearing goggles. All in all, I’d say the males are a pretty distinctive bird and should be easily identifiable in the field – only problem is, from my experience, they are harder to find than a trustworthy politician – quite ironic given where Ron and I happened to find this specimen – CHICAGO.

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

We had made a trip to Montrose Beach Bird Sanctuary earlier in the day to tin some birds that had been reported up there and still needed for our Average Year (link here). You may recall, we were able to check off the Bank Swallow (link here), the Philadelphia Vireo (link here) and the Blackburnian Warbler (link here) – a fine day already, but then Ron recommended we check out LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve. This was a new place for me and I must say, I was completely impressed. Located on Cicero Avenue, this preserve has a range of habitats from marsh, to hardwood forest and river/stream settings. They could make some improvements on their trails closer to the parking lot – lot of downed debris and for some unexplained reason think people want to hop from stump to stump on large swaths of their lowland paths. Maybe it floods, but when it is dry, that is not something I want to do with The Beast in hand.

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

Once we made it past that portion, we made our way up a steep bank to a bridge that took us to the other side of a stream. Our disappointment at the initial lack of birds quickly faded – seemed liked birds were everywhere! Downies, Red Bellies, Red-Headed and Hairy WPs were in full hammer mode, while Orioles, Towhees, Robins and Catbirds held their own tryouts for The Voice. I can’t remember if Ron actually saw the Canada Warbler or heard its sweet series of high pitched notes, in either case, he gets full credit for spotting this specimen – actually turns out there were two of these in the area which solved the mystery as to why we were miming a tennis match trying to figure out where it was.

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

In competitive family birding, the spoils go to the first spotter. Find it, shoot it, announce to brother what you are taking a picture of, brother quickly makes his way over and right before he gets a chance to press the shutter, the first spotter with pictures now in the tin yells “BEES, BEES, BEES EVERYWHERE! God, they’re huge and they sting crazy! They’re ripping my flesh off! Run away, your firearms are useless against them!” while frantically waving his arms about.

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

I’ll feel sorry for him when that little stunt is for real – I can run faster and a LOT farther than him hehehe. Okay, okay, I kid, although in this case I did accuse him of foul play. He would find it, I’d run over to get my shot and it would either dive into some thick brush or take off. Time and time again this played out, I swear he was chuckling at each of my failures. One of our birding rules allows us to use each other’s photographs in the case we both witnessed the bird and only one was able to get a decent tinning (see rule 4 addendum 2 link here). I was about to invoke that rule when this specimen flew up to a spot not far from me and graciously posed for me. Like a scene out of Zoolander, it hammed it up for the camera – what a relief.

Canada Warbler found at LaBagh Woods Forest Preserve, Chicago IL in May 2022

He made sure I was able to get all the angles for its blog feature. Notice the yellow belly feathering transitions to white on the undertail coverts. This seems to be a very common trait among many of our Warblers.

Not much to leave you with respect to interesting tidbits about this particular Warbler. Cornell was pretty light, but their region maps note that they winter in the upper portion of South American and then migrate through the eastern half of the US on their way to their breeding grounds primarily in … surprise, surprise Canada. They are the last of the Warblers to leave their wintering homes and one of the first to head back home, which is one of the reasons they are so difficult to find. This specimen was likely just passing through when we took these shots in the middle of May. On a sad note, they do have a “watch:declining” conservation status due to a population reduction of over 60% between 1970 to 2014.

Take care everyone and hope you enjoyed the pretty Warbler with its fancy jewelry.

19 thoughts on “She Wanted His Black Pearl Necklace”

  1. Very bright LYJ. I like how he posed for you to get the identification shots. Almost like reputation of The Beast is getting around. Just give in, he’s going to photograph you anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He definitely was very accommodating, once we were able to get eyes on it (well, at least me, Ron tinned it before I did). I wish The Beast had that kind of power over wildlife – trust me, I’m having to spend more and more time in the home gym to be able to lug that thing around, much less trying to keep it focused on a Pixie Stick guzzling bird! Hope you are having fun on your trip – CJ already caught a typo thanks to not having my editor handy.

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    1. You definitely got screwed on the colorful Warblers. Fortunately for us, that helps distinguish them from all our Sparrows – must be a pain in the butt over there with the high number of drab birds taking up residence there. Although, I’ve seen your shots of the pretty birds you do have (that we do not) so you definitely have a few on us. My trade offer is always on the table ha. Thanks for dropping in B!

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  2. Nice that this guy didn’t have to pay black pearl prices from the local jewelry store! What a beautiful warbler!
    Now…get back to that Halloween display! I heard Linda is now informing all the women to come to your place to clean the mess up!!!😳 I am busy so I will send a dumpster and a truck.😂🤣😂🤨

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    1. I must say, she is rather tolerant of my messes leading up to the party – although there is still work going on all year, I try to keep my lab and basement picked up. In the t-2 months it’s like an orange and black bomb went off as I frantically go from project to project trying to get them ready for the event. At the one week out point, ALL my stuff has to be moved to the staging area or I don’t get to eat. At this point I’d welcome any help on the cleaning department hehehe. I think our guests would be shocked to know just how much work it takes to get to opening night – imagine, I used to hold down a day job doing all this hehehe.

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        1. We have a 35×50 outbuilding where all the Halloween stuff gets stored – they key is to have the storage requirements front and center when designing my props – they are all built to collapse into very small spaces, but even with that said, they are definitely starting to push my capacity…will have to work on Linda and see if we can have another one built!!!

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  3. Only 71 days until Halloween! Beautiful Warbler. When I saw the title I thought of ZZ Top, and you mention Peal Necklace right of the bat. Twisted minds think alike.

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    1. Unfortunately, so as not to overlap with everyone’s October parties, we hold our event on Sept 30 and Oct 1 so I am down to a mere 38 days which is about half of what I really need – I could move it to Halloween, but all that means is I’d be complaining about lack of time at the beginning of October instead of the beginning of September. It is a labor of love so all the work is done with a huge smile on my face. I figured music people would catch the title and cringe at the bastardizing of the song lyrics. Trust me, I actually wasn’t sure if I should go that route, but maybe people aren’t familiar with the meaning of that song hehehe. Appreciate you dropping in Timothy – thought of you the day before the concert when it absolutely pouring on us.

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  4. Love all the active poses you got of this little warbler. Your Bees strategy reminds me of the story of two bear hunters – ” I don’t need to run faster than the bear, I only need to run faster than you”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Full kudos go to Mr. Necklace – he was enjoying his 15 minutes of fame in front of the cameras (and likely intrigued by the mirror slap). You are absolutely right on the Bear front. Linda used to carry my monopod when I would bother to take it out in the field with me (don’t bother anymore). I thought she was just being nice, but later she told me if she saw a bear she was going to smack my knees with it because she knew I could outrun her. She says she loves me but….. hehehehe. Appreciate you coming by Sam – we got your rain over the weekend.

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