Posted by: atowhee | April 13, 2023


I was in the garden most of this morning. Doing some of the spring tasks that have been postponed…always able to blame the cold and the rain and muddy soil. In the background I heard birdsong–chickadees, the pair that “owns” our garden. One of the American Goldfinches sang. The loud announcements by the local flickers, of course. Then I heard some slurred doublets. But I was focused on the job in hand, not nature’s own muzak. In my subconscious I wrote it off as work of a first year robin trying to get it right. The doublets just kept going. Finally, I listened. Not a robin–too soft, too many slurred notes without stopping. Then my brain said, “That’s familiar.” Not a Black-headed Grosbeak as it is too repetitive, lacks variety. Then the reality may itself heard. This was a series of slowly slurred doublets, each slightly different, all from a voice with little musicality. Every note slightly sharp mor flat or off-key somehow. I am not musical, but I know music when I hear it. This was not. These testosterone-driven tones were coming from a Warbling Vireo. My first of the year. The bird may end up spending the summer–should that really happen–somewhere along the Willamette riparian corridor.

This is the first-ever vireo of any kind that I’ve found in our garden. eBird tells me this is an unusually early sighting. Warbling Vireos become regular in late April in Marion County, then are found in their habitat or along migration routes into early October. This vireo–like most of its cogeners–did not want to be photographed. His bumper-sticker read “Ear today, gone tomorrow.”

A White-throated Sparrow appeared this afternoon. It must have been a different individual than any I’ve seen previously this year. This one’s yellow headlights were so bright they were luminescent. And then, second time this week, a Chipping Sparrow dropped down just outside the kitchen window.

The junco numbers are greatly reduced. A month ago, thirty or more, now less than a dozen. By March we were getting over 20 Mourning Doves daily. Now we have this pair, and occasionally a spare will join them. Most doves paired and nesting overtrides flocking.

There were at least five Yellow-rumped Warblers in our garden during the day–three with yellow throats, two with white.

Sure feathers can keep birds warm, and dry. Did you know feathers CAN CARRY WATER? Click here.

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Apr 13, 2023
20 species

Mourning Dove  4
Northern Flicker  1
Warbling Vireo  1     in trees, singing near house
Steller’s Jay  1
California Scrub-Jay  4
American Crow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Bushtit  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
House Finch  1
Lesser Goldfinch  X
American Goldfinch  15
Chipping Sparrow  1
Dark-eyed Junco  10
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Golden-crowned Sparrow  3
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
Townsend’s Warbler  1


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: