We get our share of warblers in Indiana — those tiny, flighty often often hard to see gems of the forest. Most are here for a few weeks in May on their way to the northern forests.
I was excited to see warblers on the Northen Forest Canoe Trail. I’m busy with work and home in the spring and don’t often have a chance to pursue warblers while they pass through here.
The problem that I knew I would face was that these birds would be difficult to see in the north woods–a Forest known for it’s thick canopy of mixed conifers and hardwoods. I could not rely on eyesight alone, so I studied and practiced birding by ear. (With my phone I was able to practice and reference bird calls in the field.)
I’ve not become a master — heck I probably wouldn’t even stand out in a group of practiced birders — but I did learn to find more birds with ear than eye.
I had been paddling a series of two or three lakes in the Adirondacks. Each lake dumped, through a series of waterfalls and whitewater to the next. After portaging one of these stretches I leaned against a rock, pulled my hat over my eyes and took a nap.
Some time later I woke to a bird song that I didn’t know. Northern Parula, I bird I had never seen or heard, popped into my head. I checked with my phone. Sure enough, it was the call of the Northern Parula. Though I had never studied the bird or its call, I had come across it enough times that it had become fixed in my sub-conscience. After that afternoon I heard the call often — but never saw one with my eyes.
This Northern Parula is carved of white pine, has brass tack eyes and steel wire legs. The base is made from wood repurposed from antique crates and a birch twig from New England. He stands 6 1/2″ t x 4 1/2″ l x 3 1/4″ w.