Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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WORLD BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Northern Parula
 
 

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Species Acct.
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OWSparrows

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Passeroidea)
         Nine-primaried Oscines
            Family Parulidae - Wood-Warblers (New World Warblers)

  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Passeroids include the Nine-primaried Oscines, pipits, Old World sparrows, and weavers.
Nine-primaried Oscines include New World warblers, icterids (New World blackbirds), emberizines (buntings), tanagers, cardinalines (cardinals), and fringillines (finches).
New World Warblers are small and mostly arboreal, nine-primaried oscines with slender bills. Many are sexually dimorphic with brightly colored nuptial plumages. More northerly populations are migratory.  Our most obvious permanent resident is the Pine Warbler. Northern Parulas and Yellow-throated Warblers are prominent breeding warblers. In winter, look for the most abundant North American warbler, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the less abundant Palm Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler. The Black-and-white Warbler is a common migrant. Many other warblers may be found on Seabrook during migration, especially in the fall when their identification may be difficult.
Parulas are our smallest warblers. They are blue-gray above with yellow on the chest and color on the back. Their song is an ascending buzzy trill that needs to be learned.
     
     
  Northern Parula, Setophaga americana
 
   Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        SUMMER - Common, breeds / Common
            OPEN HUMID FOREST, RIPARIAN WOODLAND, SWAMPS
            (often near water with tree lichens/Spanish moss for nests), ARBOREAL
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   The Northern Parula is our smallest warbler - and one of our prettiest. They are grey-blue above with a green-yellow mantle, a yellow throat and short, bold wing bars. They have pale eye arcs. The belly and under-tail coverts are white. There is a slash of white in the outer tail feathers in flight. Adult females add a rufous breast-band with yellow below it. In males the breast band is more sharply marked and includes some black. The lower mandible is also yellow and blends with the yellow throat.
Northern Parula. Male
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Gainesfille, FL Photo by Ed Konrad
 
 
  RANGE: Parulas breed in the eastern US - they range from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island west across southern Quebec and Ontario to the northern Great Lakes. They also range from the eastern Great Lakes south through Pennsylvania and west through the central states to Iowa and south to central Texas, then east along the Gulf to central Florida and the Atlantic coast. They winter from southern Florida and eastern Mexico south to Guatemala and Belize and the Greater Antilles.
  BREEDING:  Monogamous. The female builds a nest by hollowing a pocket in hanging Spanish moss or lichens (Usnea), 4-50' above the ground. It may also use dangling clusters of pine needles or twigs or place their nest amid trash left from spring flooding in branches near a stream. The nest is a hanging pouch of lichens and twigs, sparsely lined with moss, grass, pine needles, and hair. She lays 4-5 (3-7) eggs which she incubates (with some help) for 12-14 days. Young are altricial. Young are tended by both parents with the male making a larger contribution. Age at fledging is not well known.
  DIET: Their diet is insectivorous. They are active foragers and may hover at a branch tip or cling upside down to a leaf cluster. They may also forage on the ground. They may flycatch.
  VOICE: Their song is a rising buzz with a final sharp note "zeeeeeeeeee-tsup." Without their song, they are very difficult to locate. Listen beginning in April (even late March) in mature forest and along the golf courses with overhanging trees. They can be heard in the spring as you drive around the island in forested areas. 
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
       Seabrook (breeds). Kiawah - common spring through fall (breeds). Edisto - summer.
       Coastal -common summer resident. Hilton Head - common summer resident.
         Cape Romain
- common/common (breeds)/uncommon/absent. Huntington Beach - uncommon April - October; rare November.
      Caw Caw - common/common (breeds)/common/absent. ACE - common/common (breeds)/common/absent.
   Kiawah Island banding - Capn' Sam's spit - 2 Oct 2009; 4 Sep-Oct 2010; 1 Apr 2011; 5 Oct 2011S; 1 Sep 2012.
   CBC: ACE 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0.
   SCBBA: All areas of the state. Somewhat localized.
   P&G: Common breeder, 6 March - 28 October. Casual in winter. Egg dates: 6 April - 24 June.
   Avendex: 7 reports, all winter months.
   Potter: Fairly common to common summer resident of swamps and damp woodlands throughout the Carolinas - most numerous near the coast. Migrants arrive in early March (late March) and most depart by the end of October but winter stragglers occur.
  ●  Common. Parulas are heard within the canopy and edge areas on Seabrook. It takes some skill to see them but they are worth the effort! They are relatively common breeders on the island. Learn their song and you will hear them as you drive around the island in the spring.
       
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