Electric Bananas

Greetings everyone!  Apologies, as it has been a bit since we last met.  There are a number of reasons for that with the primary one being we are dangerously close to Halloween which translates to a very busy Bri.  The joke around here is we take a day off to actually celebrate Halloween and show off the latest additions and then we are back in the lab designing, building and wiring the new props for next year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. My 3D printer has been going nonstop and I’m currently up to my eyeballs in wire, servos, Arduinos and a bevy of linkages that would make any mechanical engineer envious.  That doesn’t mean I get to forget about my commitment to my readers so how about a little Yellow for today.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Quite the “electrical banana” of you will pardon a reference to maybe one of the worst songs every written or produced.  Not exactly the best reference as Donovan was apparently referring to the ladies where these first few shots are of the male Yellow Warbler.  What do you say we all go in on a petition to rename this brightly colored species the Banana Warbler – upside is it will bypass all the current uproar over birds named after southern references.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Hit the jump to see a few more shots our brightly colored Warbler.

Until we get enough signatures, we’ll stick to the current name – besides, a bit of kudos to the discoverer as it does actually have a physical reference you can detect in the field.  The male Yellows are clearly yellow so we can get that part of the ID out of the way pretty quick.  The characteristic that seals the deal is the auburn/chestnut streaking towards the upper part of the breast.  Rather unique and easily distinguishable if you can just get these Warblers to take a microsecond rest.  It comes to a point where you basically have to anticipate where they are going to land next, set the focus on a likely branch and wait for it to bounce through.  Add to that their devious streak of harassing photographers by making sure they maximize the number of branches/leaves between them and your glass.  Don’t be fooled by these shots, there’s a 5 inch pile of blurry leaf pictures on the floor of the digital darkroom .

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Our yellow fella is not new to the list, in fact, it has been featured several times in previous posts (link here and here for starters).  Those specific posts featured specimens from Colorado and another from South Dakota.  Truth is you really do not need to travel that far to experience one of these Warblers as they pretty much range the entire North America.  Pick a preserve or park in the Midwest during the summer and you are pretty much guaranteed to find one or two foraging towards the upper part of the tree canopy.  They might be hard to get in the tin, but sure worth it as these Yellows are just plain beautiful.  They also tend to show a lot of inquisitive behavior providing opportunities to get playful poses.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

At one point in time I used to think this particular Warbler was in the top 5 of the most colorful Warblers.  It was holding its own with the Chestnuts, Prairie, Parula, Cerulean and Magnolia until the Mangrove came along .. wait, did he just say Mangrove Yellow Warbler, does he have a Mangrove Yellow Warbler, no, he couldn’t possibly have a Mangrove, really!?!, nah, that can’t be or he would have already featured that jewel…or maybe he is waiting for something big like a post from his brother… the suspense is killing ha.  Sorry, ignore that digression.


Our specimens today come to you from Chain O’ Lakes State Park back in June 2019.  For this blog, that’s like last week hehehe.  Linda and I were doing some camping up at our favorite park and Ron was able to drop down from Chicago and get in a little midsummer birding.  If you are in the area and need the Yellow Warbler checked off your list, simply head to the small pound down from the campground entrance.  Guarantee you will get the check as they are there every single time we visit.  Now spotting them and getting them in the tin can be an entirely different story as mentioned above.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Those out there with a keen eye may have noticed that there was something different about the last images.  Specifically something missing – kudos to those that noticed – the well defined streaking has disappeared.  If you look real close, you can just see a hint of the streaks.  The true electric bananas of the Yellow Warbler realm do not have the pronounced chestnut streaking.  They tend to be duller as well with more of a grayish wash.  Best way to distinguish the female is to observe its mate which tends to stay close.  Both do sport the coal black eyes which really stands out against the solid head coloring.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Apparently the females also like to ham it up for the glass – According to Cornell, their song sounds like “sweet, sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet”.  Can’t say as I was able to pick out that moniker, however, it’s on my list to verify the next time I’m out in the field – will report back what I find out.

Yellow Warbler found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Not much else to really pass along about these Yellows.  I do enjoy watching them in the field (as I try not to get too frustrated over the struggle to get a clean shot at one).  Will call it a post there, my latest set of plastic designs just finished up on the printer and eager to see how they will work on the latest prop.  Take it easy everyone and don’t let this Covid crap mess with your mello.

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