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Familiar Studies Of Wild Birds
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(Dendroica ęstiva)

THE summer range of the yellow warbler, or wild canary as this pretty songster is popularly known, extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts, ascending in the Wasatch Mountains, where the accompanying photographs were taken, to an elevation probably considerably over eight thousand feet. Having travelled two thousand miles or more from our Eastern home, here we have the delight of meeting this bright yellow friend of ours, with his duller mate, slightly streaked on the breast with orange. At these high altitudes, the warblers usually start nesting about the middle of June. I found them building in general in the willows along the streams at an average height of six feet, but also found one nest in a hillside bush. Their nests are well constructed of bark shreds, lined with fine grasses, willow down, wool, hair, and feathers. The heavy storms that occur every few days in this region are doubtless responsible for a good deal of damage, and several of the nests I found were probably thus destroyed. The eggs are white, spotted with brown more profusely around the larger ends, always four to the set.

I located the first nest on June 18th, and had no trouble in photographing the female, as she returned within a few minutes after I had set up the camera. She was so tame that when I touched her nest she came within a foot of my hand. She would tilt forward with drooping wings, feigning to fall, then catch herself as she dropped to another perch lower down. Thus did she do her best to lead me away from her treasures. At no other nest did I find a warbler as free from fear as this one.

Another nest, which I found on June 20th, contained one egg; the second egg was laid the following day, then a day was skipped, the two last eggs being laid on the two days following. The bird did not begin sitting until the set was complete. (I felt fairly certain with regard to the time of laying the eggs, though I did not visit the nest on the fifth day.)

When one is in the vicinity of a nest he is soon made aware of the fact by the distressed peeping of the warblers. The male always seems to be on hand, and one will frequently hear him singing in the bushes near by. As far as observed, he does not assist in incubating; but as soon as the young hatch, he becomes as active as his mate in procuring food. During the first few days, in fact, she is engaged in brooding, while he does all the foraging. So rapidly do the young warblers mature that in seven days they are fairly well feathered. When the young in the hillside bush were eight days old, I decided to photograph them; but no sooner had I touched the nest than all four youngsters hopped out, and fluttered in as many directions. Two days later they could fly well.



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