On my way to the liquor store I saw…

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an Audubon’s Warbler (Setophaga coronata auduboni, a subspecies of the Yellow-rumped Warbler) flying into a tree across from The Laughing Bean at the corner of Slocan and Hastings. Well, I saw at least two, a female (photographed above) and a male.

This was my first warbler sighting since I started paying attention to birds a few months ago. And I saw it on John James Audubon’s birthday! That is some delightful synchronicity. When I noticed this unusual-to-me bird, I did not know it was an Audubon’s Warbler or that Sunday was J.J. Audubon’s birthday. Today the internet served up the information via my WordPress Reader and a few Google searches. A-wing and A-way wished J.J. a happy birthday and divulged some interesting facts about the man. Cornell’s All About Birds, as usual, helped me identify the bird and I found some great pictures of Yellow-rumped Warblers here.

I walked 12 blocks to the liquor store to discover my wallet had stayed at home. But meeting a new bird was a pretty good consolation prize.

The next three photographs are of a female.

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The last three photographs are of a male. His head is darker grey and he has two large black patches on his chest. The “here” link mentioned above has much clearer photographs of males and females with their breeding and non-breeding plumage. Please excuse the fuzziness of my photos and my wonky colour edits. Clear enough to identify the birds!

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12 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing! That’s quite some synchronicity indeed. And you got some really good pics, too!

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    1. Thanks for enjoying my pictures :-). And thanks for your interesting post on Audubon. Like your post on Starlings, it made me think about the many reasons that humans kill animals. I briefly contemplated my personal ethics regarding this matter. I could have thought on and on, but at the moment it boils down to: I’m ok with killing animals as long as the animals to not suffer for a long time leading up to their death and a species is not killed to extinction. I also have an ethical bias to killing for food. I read the Wikipedia page on taxidermy and it sounds like it was a popular practice among ornithologists. Maybe Audubon fed the bird meat to his cats?

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      1. That’s a good question. I don’t know if Audubon had cats or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ate some birds. Unfortunately, life feeds off of other life forms. Even when we eat plants, in many cases the soil is tilled (cutting worms) and storehouses and granaries use traps (killing mice). I’m for as little killing as possible, though, and definitely trying to mitigate the animals’ suffering. I really appreciate your reflections on this. Thanks again for reading.

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        1. Interesting comments about the worms and mice. When you wrote “Some people, too, may find fault in that he killed hundreds of birds to complete his drawings”, my initial reaction was “how awful”. But I figured I was jumping to this conclusion a little too quickly, so I thought about it some more. As a human with many choices, I suppose that if I wanted to be a “reasonable killer” I would have to think about the harmonious dynamic equilibrium of the earth ecosystem as a whole, always favoring myself and my species at least slightly of course. Audubon killed some birds to be able to draw them, but his drawings probably fueled people’s appreciation of birds and inspired bird conservation movements. Also, a few less birds means a few bug lives were saved :-). Ethical dilemmas…

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          1. Lots of ethical dilemmas to ponder indeed! At least we as a species are thinking about this. There’s definitely more that humans can do, and definitely more that I can do as well. But thinking about it deeply is a necessary first start. Lots of things to consider!

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  2. Wow~Audubon Warbler on his birthday! You don’t fool around when you take up birding, do you? 🙂

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    1. Ha ha! I think the universe likes to have fun with me sometimes :-).

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  3. That is so awesome about the Audubon’s Warbler! We walk by that corner sometimes when in town visiting my dad. I’ll have to tell my guys and share this post! 🙂

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    1. I don’t know if they like to hang out there often or were just passing through. You may be interested in these pictures of birding in Queen Elizabeth Park. The photographer got lovely shots of a few different warblers and other unusual-to-me birds. I’m thinking of scouting the Queen E trees soon…

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      1. Thanks for the link! I’ll tell my guys. We don’t go to Q E very often, but this might convince them to go. 🙂

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        1. There is a birding event there on Sunday morning for Bird Week. Vancouver Bird Week starts tomorrow!!!

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          1. Have fun! Hope you’ll see lots of interesting birds.

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