What’s good: Warbler flies into ground, mate comes back

A male yellow warbler watches over his mate that flew into the ground.

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon at the Great Swamp, a 3,000 acre national wildlife refuge about 15 miles north of my house. I’ve spent a good deal of time there, it is a cool place, there is lots of wildlife, which is good since it is a refuge and not a lot of people, which is good since it is a wildlife refuge.

I haven’t done a lot of bird photography, especially small birds. I saw three people with cameras watching some trees at the edge of a parking area. I parked and slowly walked over to see what they were looking at. They were friendly, as birders tend to be, and told me there were several yellow warblers buzzing around. After they said they wouldn’t mind if I joined them, I brought my camera over and setup near them. They were good, they’d point out birds I didn’t even see, usually in the shadows where a good picture couldn’t be made.

The warblers were pretty rowdy, they were mating, the others said. A male and female flew out of the trees and were wrestling in the air. The male kinda hit the female as they were flying and the female flew straight into the gravel road. The bird was out cold. The male flew down to check on his mate but the female didn’t move. He flew away and two of the people walked over to see if the bird was dead. As they approached, it slowly flew into the trees, but it was still stunned. They tried to catch the bird to take it to a nearby bird rescue. The bird regained strength and flew higher in the trees. I guess it was just stunned but OK. None of us had even seen a bird fly into the ground before, it was quite a sight.

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