Upon our return from Illinois to our south Florida home, we were greeted by an influx of one of our favorite warblers. Some Prairie Warblers breed locally, but their numbers are reinforced by migrants, many of whom will spend their winter here with us. Although this is probably one of my most-photographed bird species, I never tire of capturing them in varied habitats and poses.
As is the case with many bird species, the adult males are more boldly plumaged than the females. Here is a typical male in a side-on "field guide" pose.
Rarely do these active birds sit still for such a view. This portrait illustrates the dark semicircles under its eyes, that are said to give it a tired "baggy-eyed" look that is unique among New World warbler species.
One trait that makes them more appealing as photographic subjects is their habit of gleaning prey just one branch at a time. Moving from the trunk of the tree out to the smallest branches, one can often predict a bare twig up ahead where they may provide an opportunity for an unobstructed photo. Of course, it is impossible to predict what posture one might assume.
Too often, my camera clicks reveal nothing but an empty branch. Sometimes I am lucky enough to get a flight shot.
The female is more subdued, but nonetheless beautiful.
I love the aesthetics of this photo of a female. It reminds me of a John James Audubon painting, as he used wires to contort avian corpses into unusual postures.
In the fall, a first-year male may be indistinguishable from a female.