In Search of an Ovenbird

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) - Genung Preserve, Freeville, NY

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) - Genung Preserve, Freeville, NY

Singing Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) - Genung Preserve, Freeville, NY

Singing Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) – Genung Preserve, Freeville, NY

Having grown up in central Florida and lived in Texas for the last few years, I am used to seeing warblers during migration, not singing on territory like they do here.  This means I have quite a steep learning curve trying to learn the songs of local birds. I am making rapid progress, but there is an incredible amount to learn!

Just a few weeks ago, I was birding at Sapsucker Woods and could hear a very loud song a little ways off in the forest.  I searched and searched and searched and could not find the bird.  Not a chance.  I knew I had heard it before, but I had absolutely no idea what it was.  Finally, since it was starting to get dark, I gave up and headed back home.

The next morning, I was birding at Genung Preserve very close to my house.  As soon as I stepped out of my car, I heard the song again, and this time it was very close.  After a minute or so of searching I finally tracked down an Ovenbird, singing from a fairly low branch in a conifer.  I tried for a few minutes to get some photos, but the light just wasn’t there, as the sun hadn’t cleared the horizon yet.  Since he was clearly on territory, I decided to go find some Blue-winged Warblers and return later in the morning.

After having a successful shoot with a nice male Blue-winged Warbler, I returned to the Ovenbird and followed him around for a while.  I took tons and tons of photographs, but the low and dappled light made it extremely difficult.  Out of all my frames, I ended up with a single frame (top image) that I was fairly pleased with and a couple more that are ok, but nothing spectacular.  Since this bird is right around the corner from my house, I’m going to have to return to see if I can do better!

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  1. jill vaughan says:

    Leave it to you to get a textbook photo of an oven bird! Most of us would be thrilled just to see the bird, let alone get a spectacular shot of it.

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