Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Townsend's Warbler

Near Carlsbad we drove over to Pismo Beach where we hoped to see over 23,000 Monarch Butterflies in a tree grove at the edge of town. Unfortunately, the butterfly season is from late October to February (monarchbutterfly. org). We were there in late March, and not a single Monarch was to be seen. On the other hand, we missed the 60,000 visitors who flock the the grove in season.

We were rewarded, however, with several interesting birds. Townsend's Warblers breed in northwestern North America and winter along the Pacific Coast of the United States and in Mexico and Central America. In California, this warbler probably gleans insects from foliage and frequents bird feeders offering a variety of food items (including cheese, marshmallows, and peanut butter). Further south this bird "exploits honeydew excreted by sap-sucking insects" (Wright et al. 1998). These scale insects are often injured as the warbler feeds on the sap at the tip of insects' anal tube.

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