Northern Parulas-Lichen Lovers

        While I was visiting Hog Island for National Audubon Society’s camp, there were four bird nests of different species on the island. Bald Eagles and Merlins had nests and obviously the famed Ospreys that had a live camera attached to the nest tower got the most attention. However, there was a Northern Parula nest that hung over the main path from the cabins to the dining room and presentation area. This nest received lots of attention, especially from photographers, and I spent the majority of my free time watching it before the nestlings fledged and left the nest. I probably spent two to three hours watching and photographing the parents as they brought food to their four babies. The nest was constructed entirely out of lichen-“Old Man’s Beard”-as it is called. Before and most certainly after the camp my favorite warbler was and is the Northern Parula. That is why I was bursting with excitement when I learned there was a nest right over the place I walked! I got many bad pictures and because the parents were so fast, I even tried to predict which branch they would land on before they entered the nest and I manually focused on that branch. That failed time and time again and so I decided to switch back to auto focus and use the continuous 7 fps shooting mode that came with my camera. That was a success and I got exactly what I wanted! Not much later, the four babies came out of the nest and one even made it to a different tree! The parents still came to feed them and they were sooooooo cute!!! They all stayed still in different positions on the nest; one in the opening, one just above and to the right of the opening, one at the bottom and on the backside of the nest, and one on a stub of a branch on the next tree over. All of the babies were gone the next day, but two days later one of the babies was heard and then seen in a tree not 50 feet away from the nest site. It sounded hungry but I hope it and its three siblings are alright! I hope all birders out there get the chance to have the same experience with their favorite warbler because I thoroughly enjoyed my experience!

The shot I was looking for-the male out of the nest!
The female does not have orange on its breast like the male
The female with food
This was the baby that sat in the opening of the nest